Clutch Technologies said Monday it has launched a suite of varying subscription-related products that dealers and automakers can use to tailor those services to the individual (and often different) needs of consumers.
Clutch, which is a subsidiary of Cox Automotive, said the new Clutch Subscription Platform includes the same technology in its “full-time” single-vehicle and multi-vehicle subscription products, but notes that the “key advancement” in this new line is that it “expands Clutch’s algorithms to assign vehicles across several different products from a shared fleet.”
Essentially, this expands what Clutch has built through its multi-vehicle subscription platform into other subscription services to take care of other consumer needs.
“What you see is just a natural pickup from us on what our customers, meaning dealers and OEMs, are starting to gravitate towards and ask us to get into on their behalf and provide from a technology perspective, which is not only multi-car subscription, but single-car and on-demand rental,” Clutch president Vince Zappa said in a phone interview last week.
“And it all plays into this broader strategy that we I think pioneered around multi-car subscription, which is it’s all about optimizing the efficiency of the fleet that either a dealer, an OEM or some fleet operator has, coupled with the customer experience on the other side.”
The services included in the Clutch Subscription Platform include the following, as listed in a news release from Cox Automotive:
- Service Pickup and Delivery: Dispatches staff to pick up vehicles for service and deliver loaners, and leverages Clutch’s partnership with fleet management software provider TSD to create loaner agreements at the customer’s location.
- Extended Test Drive: Allows customers to try one or more vehicles for an extended period of time, typically on a paid-for basis, which is effectively a mini-subscription. Customers can select the vehicles they want to drive and receive suggestions based on feedback.
- On-demand Rental: Provides a dealership’s existing customers with the right to rent additional vehicles for purposes such as a trip, a project or a visit from family, to accommodate a specific vehicle need. For added convenience, vehicles can be delivered, with the rental agreement being executed at the customer’s location.
- Fractional Subscription: Provides customers with the right to drive additional vehicles for a monthly fee (e.g., three days per month for a $100 monthly fee). This product can be sold in dealership F&I departments or subsequent to a purchase. It can be combined with other products, such as a service contract with pickup and delivery, to create a “owner subscription.”
- Single Vehicle Subscription: Provides an alternative to ownership on new or used vehicles. It can be used to solve problems such filling gaps between leases or providing a vehicle for shorter-term residents. Those who simply prefer to subscribe can pay a premium to have their vehicle managed for them.
- Multi-vehicle Subscription: Provides the ultimate consumer driving experience. Consumers flip between vehicles as their needs change, while letting their subscription provider take care of all the hassles of ownership.
“Clutch’s vision has always been to improve the lives of every driver,” Zappa said in a news release. “In multi-vehicle subscription, or ‘traditional’ subscription, we set out to solve the hardest and most comprehensive problems first.
“We knew that the resulting technology platform could then be used to build a variety of products that would serve the needs of many different consumers. The common thread is that these products allow the industry to shift from transactional to continuous relationships. If dealers and OEMs establish ongoing relationships, learn what is needed from consumers, and provide ongoing value, the result will be a virtuous circle of retention and profitability, regardless of the specific products a consumer is using.”
As the above list shows, there is more than one “flavor” of car subscriptions, which can be quite diverse in how they’re structured.
“It’s interesting from the media perspective how ‘subscription’ typically means one thing,” Zappa said during the phone interview. “In reality, it means a whole lot of different things. And I think what you’re finding from us is the ability for us to start to really define what those products are using a subscription platform.”
The platform is designed to break the one-purpose mentality of a given fleet of vehicles, and allow them to be “more fluid” for dealers and other customers.
“Our customers said to us, ‘I already have a loaner car fleet, I already have a rental car fleet; now you’re asking me to get a subscription fleet. How about we think about that as one fleet and layer different products across it?’” Zappa said. “And that’s effectively what our platform’s doing.”