Two providers of car subscriptions services that are, in some form or fashion, associated with Cox Automotive have some new partners.
Flexdrive, which is a joint venture between Cox Automotive and ARI, will be the car subscription platform provider for Virginia-based dealer group Duncan Automotive Network, as part of a partnership announced Tuesday.
The Duncan group, whose stores include locations in towns near Virginia Tech and in Blacksburg itself, has found that a subscription service may fit the flexibility needs of Hokies and other college students in the area, particularly those from far away who may not have brought their cars to school.
In fact, 30 percent Virginia Tech grad students hail from other countries, Duncan said, citing the university.
With the store being close to local colleges, the dealer group will begin providing the subscription option at its Duncan Hyundai store in Christiansburg, which is less than 8 miles from Tech.
"International students and ones from across the country face numerous barriers when obtaining a car and ultimately getting rid of it at the end of their studies. Instead of buying or leasing, car subscription is the perfect fit because of its flexibility, convenience and affordability," said Gary Duncan, one of the group’s owners, in a news release.
“As we continue to strengthen our dealer business and what we bring to customers, we know Flexdrive is the right partner to help us navigate a new era for dealerships with car subscriptions as a first step.”
Stephane Ferri, who is head of strategic development at Flexdrive, added: "The appeal for car subscription continues to increase as do the use cases where no alternatives outside of buying, leasing or renting exist. Duncan's starting point with international students — or anyone visiting from abroad for an extended period of time — is thoughtful and needed in the market.
“Beyond meeting the current market need, we look forward to helping another progressive dealer, like Duncan, implement a subscription program that proves profitable out of the gate,” he added.
Further south, the YourDrive Texas vehicle subscription service announced its launch on Tuesday.
The Dallas-based service is powered by the subscription technology platform of Clutch, which was recently acquired by Cox Automotive.
YourDrive, whose parent company is Purdy Motor SA, is a doing-business-as segment of Purdy Mobility Subscriptions, according to a news release. Purdy Motor heads up distribution of Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu, Hino, Ford and Volkswagen in Costa Rica; it moved into the U.S. in 2012 and owns three Texas Toyota stores. Purdy plans to grow further in mobility, it says.
Most of the vehicles offered within YourDrive will be Toyotas.
Subscribers, who will pay a monthly fee, can access three vehicle exchanges each month. Free doorstep delivery is included; the plan also includes maintenance, taxes, insurance and cleaning.
“The goal of YourDrive is to increase mobility options by offering a more customized service and the ultimate in convenience to drivers,” YourDrive chief executive Laura Ryan said in a news release.
Earlier this month, Cox Automotive announced the formation of a Mobility Solutions Group, in conjunction with the purchase of Clutch, which will be housed in that group.
Part of the group’s focus will be on mobility-as-a-service. It will be lead by Joe George.
“Cox Automotive is continually evolving — delivering digital retailing solutions for the immediate term while developing and investing in solutions that will fuel new models for consumer mobility and enable fleet management solutions well into the future,” Cox Automotive president Sandy Schwartz said in the Aug. 10 news release.
“The future of mobility as a service is a massive business opportunity, with some estimates at well in excess of $1 trillion by 2030. Our goal is to grow our presence in that part of the business and help all our partners and clients successfully navigate the many new opportunities,” Schwartz continued.