Audi and BMW to End Monthly Subscription Services

Popular luxury car mavens Audi and BMW have finally announced the end of their vehicle subscription services. Many customers may not have even known that this service was available, in part because it wasn’t all that popular for either brand, but at the end of the month, all current and active subscription plans will end, leaving BMW and Audi owners no other choice but to lease or purchase their vehicle of choice.

How does the monthly subscription service work?

The Audi and BMW subscription services worked very similarly to each other. For a monthly cost, subscribers could pick almost any car in the manufacturer’s lineup. Unfortunately, these plans typically cost over $1000, making it an unobtainable solution for the average consumer. The subscription services were created to test how desirable the option would be on a larger scale.

“[It] was always intended to be a pilot program.”

Oleg Satanovsky, BMW Spokesperson
German automobile manufacturer Audi logo seen in Shanghai.
The latest Audi recall affects several models | Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Why the service wasn’t very popular

The Audi and BMW monthly subscription services aren’t well-known because they aren’t particularly popular. While the concept seems unique and enticing, there were a lot of flaws. For one, the monthly cost was much higher than what most people would pay for a standard lease or car payment.

Another major issue was that this was only a reasonable option for drivers who lived within a short distance to a BMW or Audi dealership that offered the services. It was only available at certain locations within certain cities, harshly limiting potential subscribers. While the programs themselves were unique and great in theory, the execution was subpar.

Cruise control on steering wheel
A woman holds onto the steering wheel | Maya Anwar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

RELATED: How Do Car Subscriptions Work?

Designed as an alternative

Neither Audi nor BMW launched the program with hopes of it failing. Instead, it was designed to be a clever alternative to buying a brand new luxury car and biting the depreciation or having to struggle with the stress of a lease. Instead, subscribers could pick a new vehicle to drive and enjoy, and switch it up whenever they wanted to, which sounds pretty could if you really wanted to try something new out or hate being stuck in one car for too long.

Both brands have announced that the programs weren’t a complete failure, as they were able to test and study car buying alternatives and collect information based on consumer’s habits and preferences.

Some observers think the 2022 Honda Civic resembles an Audi A3. This Audi A3 Sportback vehicle is on display during the 18th Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition at China Import and Export Fair Complex on November 20, 2020, in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China.
Will the 2022 Honda Civic resemble an Audi A3 (pictured) too much? | VCG/VCG, Getty Images

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While the monthly subscription services are ending for the Audi and BMW brands, several other manufacturers keep the concept alive. According to Consumer Reports, Volvo and Porsche will continue to offer their version of the monthly subscription services, with no indication that they plan to cease the program in the near future.