The Volvo XC40 is a monumentally important vehicle in many ways. Volvo has never sold a compact SUV before, so the XC40 will push the brand into a new, millennial-friendly segment for the first time. It’s also the first product to ride atop Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which, moving forward, will underpin multiple 40-series models as well as the brand’s first fully-electric car. In addition to all that, the XC40 will usher in a new subscription service called Care by Volvo that could change the way we purchase and maintain our cars forever.
In a nutshell, Care by Volvo bundles vehicle cost, insurance payments, service fees, and taxes into one monthly fee, which in theory makes vehicle ownership as hassle free as having a mobile phone. Given the XC40’s target demographic of smartphone-fixated young people, it’s the perfect vehicle to launch this type of service alongside.
“With Care by Volvo, we introduce a new car access for the modern age,” said Hakan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo. “In a time where consumers are used to transparent flat-fees for all sort of services, the traditional process of buying and owning a car can be perceived [as] rather complicated. Care by Volvo changes all of that.”
In addition to subverting the traditional car-buying model, Care by Volvo offers several ancillary benefits including fueling, cleaning, and service pick-up. Also, buyers will have the option of “renting” another Volvo vehicle for short periods — say you’d rather have a larger XC90 for a weekend, for example — and the program also allows owners to get a new car every 24 months. Owners may also share their car with friends and family by using the Care by Volvo app as a digital key.
Volvo claims that price negotiation is one of the least-liked elements of vehicle ownership, so Care by Volvo eliminates the practice altogether. While few people truly enjoy haggling over costs at a dealer, this could be a major downside for those who prefer angling for a better price.
As to how Volvo’s new subscription service will be received by the market, and whether drivers will conclude that the convenience of hassle-free shopping will offset the savings that can sometimes be achieved through negotiations, time will tell.
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