Buying and leasing

The big Comparis car subscription comparison

ANALYSIS
| By Andrea Auer |
Source: iStock.com / ljubaphoto

The general trend towards car subscriptions is also gaining momentum in Switzerland. Comparis has analyzed the services on offer to shed light on this new market. The result: in some cases, subscribers pay less than 50 francs extra per month compared to car buyers.

The car subscription trend is gaining momentum in many automotive markets – and Switzerland is no exception. Car importers, insurance companies and start-ups alike have recently launched new subscription services. With a car subscription, motorists pay for access to a vehicle, including insurance, services, repairs, tyres, taxes and even the motorway tax sticker – all at a fixed monthly price.

Comparis has analyzed the deals offered by eight providers operating in Switzerland using three driver profiles.

A small price to pay for flexibility

A comparison of the monthly subscription charges with the cost of purchasing and operating the same vehicle revealed the following: of the 18 deals analyzed in total, eight were less than 100 francs per month more expensive than car ownership, with four being less than 50 francs more expensive.

“Although subscribing is more expensive than buying, the flexibility and time savings offered by such flat-rate deals make them attractive to many motorists, despite the extra cost,” says Comparis mobility expert Andrea Auer. Customers do not need to worry about repairs, services or even changing tyres, for instance. One provider, Carvolution, even offers an at-home tyre-changing service. What’s more, subscribers can return or exchange the car at no additional cost, once a certain minimum subscription period has been reached.

Monthly flat-rate of under 400 francs for a compact car

The monthly cost of the cheapest subscription for infrequent drivers (660 to 900 kilometres per month) ranges from 396 francs (Carvolution: Citroën C1, incl. 850 kilometres) to 689 francs (Juicar: BMWi3, incl. 660 kilometres). The subscription prices for moderately frequent drivers (1,000 to 1,750 kilometres per month) range from 439 to 809 francs.

At Hertz and Sixt Unlimited, subscription costs for a compact car start at 800 and 1,322 francs respectively. However, as they include 4,000 and 5,000 kilometres per month respectively, these providers are chiefly targeting frequent drivers. If we consider all the subscriptions in the analysis on a price-per-kilometre basis, it is Hertz and Carvolution that come out cheapest with a kilometre rate of 20 centimes. Factors such as the model of vehicle or equipment and accessories also have an effect on the price.

If you are taking out a car subscription for the first time, you should find out what the sign-up fees are. Auto Kunz and Carvolution charge a sign-up fee of 390 francs for first-time subscribers.

Different levels of flexibility depending on the provider

The level of flexibility offered differs from provider to provider. For example, the minimum subscription periods vary between one and six months (1 month: Juicar; 3 months: Auto Kunz, Clyde, FlatDrive; 6 months: Carvolution and UpTo).

“So depending on which provider they choose, some customers will be able to change their car more often than others,” says the expert. As a rule, you need to give notice of 30 days; however, you can only return the car free of charge after the minimum subscription period has been reached. Hertz and Sixt Unlimited have no minimum subscription period.