Flexdrive Aims to Be All-Inclusive Transit Subscription

Flexdrive plans to expand geographically this year into the West Coast, with a long-term goal of becoming an all-inclusive transit subscription service, Auto Finance News has learned.

Flexdrive aims to be much more than a “single-transit subscription” business, but a platform that includes first-mile and last-mile solutions — from bicycles to powersports vehicles, Jose Puente, president of Flexdrive, told AFN.

Started in 2014, Flexdrive is a 50/50 joint venture between Cox Automotive and Holman Automotive that provides technology to car dealerships, or any company, to start a subscription service. Flexdrive was brought to market in Atlanta in early 2017.

Now, Holman plans to take Flexdrive nationwide, working with other dealer groups, Puente said. In the first quarter of 2018, Flexdrive will begin to enter the West Coast. Currently, Flexdrive operates in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; and Cherry Hill, N.J. The company also recently expanded to South Florida and Philadelphia, with Nashville next on the expansion roadmap, he said.

Customers are able to subscribe for one week or up to several months, and can also skip their subscription for a week if they don’t plan on using the vehicle. In addition, Flexdrive provides data — such as market value — to help dealerships determine the best-performing car for its subscription service. The dealership can then monitor those aspects of the vehicle during its lifetime.

“[Car subscriptions] may affect loans over the long term if we have millions of people subscribing rather than financing a car,” Puente said, adding that the business model is more economically advantageous to dealerships because they receive that monthly payment instead of the OEM. In the long term though, Flexdrive aims to be much more than a single-transit subscription business, he said.

“These alternatives to owning a car are the most fundamentally important thing happening in the automotive space,” Puente said. “The most important thing for us to talk about with what [Flexdrive] is doing, is that we are offering someone an opportunity to get into a car today … as a foundational way for them to understand, ‘I don’t have to own a car to have a car,’” he said, meaning that car subscriptions are just the first step in getting the public acclimated to a transportation subscription lifestyle.

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