Nearly two years after the launch of commercial car subscriptions on its marketplace, FlexClub is now expanding its focus to include the more than 700,000 South African consumers in the market for a personal car each year. Subscriptions on the marketplace are offered by vehicle partners, which include existing car rental brands and fleet providers. As of today, Avis is the first major car rental brand to launch its car subscriptions to South African consumers on the FlexClub marketplace.
FlexClub will now be piloting car subscriptions for a limited number of private members across Johannesburg. These private members will be able to find their next personal car on the marketplace and enjoy access to the unique “Drive Now, Buy Later” benefits already available to commercial members.
Through the FlexClub marketplace, members pay a monthly subscription for a car, while the purchase price of the car continues to decrease over time. Members earn points that discount the purchase price of the car, based on their driving behaviour while subscribed. This represents the foundation of what FlexClub refers to as its “Drive Now, Buy Later” model.
"The Drive Now, Buy Later model is an innovative offering that comes at a time where customers are in need of flexible mobility solutions that cater for their ever evolving needs," Avis South Africa CEO Ramasela Ganda said in a statement. "Avis South Africa is proud to be the first to partner with FlexClub on this subscription offering, as we try harder to continuously delight our customers.”
With 2020 marked by increased uncertainty and a preference for less social contact, the car buying behaviour of consumers around the world has begun to shift noticeably. Despite the challenges faced by the broader automotive industry, leading US and European digital auto retailers such as Carvana, Shift, Vroom, and Cazoo have all seen continued growth during the year. This accelerated adoption of e-commerce is forecasted to continue across the globe, with more car shoppers eager to escape the unpleasant, long-held car buying norms.
Car subscriptions on the FlexClub marketplace offer members an alternative to traditional car loans. With car subscriptions, members are afforded the flexibility to swap the car, buy the car or cancel their subscription with no additional termination payments, as it suits them. Subscriptions on the marketplace are offered through an all-inclusive monthly fee, eliminating the need for separate insurance or maintenance expenses — with cars delivered to the members’ door.
The FlexClub experience is fully digital, covering member registration, paymentsm and vehicle delivery, offering all the convenience tech-savvy consumers have come to expect when shopping online. While service will only be available to Johannesburg residents during this pilot, the company is planning for nationwide coverage in the near future.
“FlexClub is pioneering the most flexible way to get a car,” Tinashe Ruzane, CEO and co-founder of FlexClub, said in a statement. “We’re creating a superior digital experience for customers that value their freedom. Imagine if getting your next car delivered to your door could be as simple as shopping on Amazon, with the flexibility to upgrade, downgrade, buy, or return the car anytime at the tap of a button”.
According to the company, a pilot launch in Mexico is also imminent, in partnership with several more global car rental brands. This approach to car subscriptions serves as an innovative bridge between car rental and auto retail, creating a new digital distribution channel for car rental companies and fleet providers.
“We’re thrilled to partner with a global car rental leader like Avis and support their venture into the car subscription space. We celebrate their appetite for innovation in these challenging times and are excited to welcome them onboard as one of our Vehicle Partners," Ruzane said. "It’s a great milestone to have them become the first international car rental brand to leverage our marketplace technology, launching car subscriptions for those seeking the flexibility to Drive Now, Buy Later."