Alex Rose Cazoo

What is a car subscription and why might one be right for you?

How does a car subscription work, and is this the future of car ownership? We caught up with Alex Rose, Subscriptions Director at Cazoo, to find out.

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By Cazoo editorial team

Although many of us have monthly subscriptions to all kinds of products and services, the idea of subscribing to a car is relatively new. We asked Alex to explain how a car subscription works, and why it might be a great option for your next car.

Q: Why has Cazoo launched car subscriptions?

A: Because they’re brilliant! So many things are available on a zero-hassle, pay-monthly, subscription basis – phones, gyms, music and video streaming, even coffee and cheese – and we think it’s a fantastic solution for having a new or used car. You don’t actually own the car, but the popularity of leasing would suggest that’s not really an issue for a lot of people. So it just works for the way a lot of people run their lives. It saves you time and hassle – you can do everything online, it’s flexible and you know exactly how much it’ll cost every month.

Q: How would you sum up what a car subscription is?

A: You get a car and everything you need to run that car for a fixed monthly payment. Road tax, insurance, servicing, maintenance and breakdown cover are all included in the price. We arrange servicing for you and you can manage everything easily via the Cazoo Subscriptions App.

Q: How are subscriptions different from leasing?

A: A car subscription is similar to leasing a car, where you pay a fixed amount each month, but with a subscription we bolt on all the additional services that you don’t get with a lease. You also get a greater degree of flexibility with a subscription because we offer shorter-term contracts than you generally find with leasing. And when the contract ends you can return your car, swap it for a different one, or keep your contract rolling month-by-month.

Q: How does Cazoo differ from other car subscription services?

A: We bring a few pieces to the party that make Cazoo stand out. For instance, you can add up to two more drivers to the insurance at no extra cost. Our standard package includes 1,000 miles a month, which is more than the national annual average – and you can add even more if you need them. We offer shorter-term subscriptions, but also offer you a car for up to 36 months, at a lower price. And we have a wide range of cars that we’re constantly adding to.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Cazoo subscription app?

A: The app allows you to manage your entire subscription. You can view and download documents, change your mileage package, make payments, extend your subscription and contact our Customer Support team directly. It’s currently only available on Apple devices but we’re working on adding it to Android. Everything is also available online and you can call our customer service seven days a week.

Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about car subscriptions?

A: There are a few. First, I think the biggest is that some people think they’re expensive. It’s true that the monthly payment might be higher than for some leasing deals, but that’s an all-inclusive price with insurance and servicing and so on. And there’s no big down payment, just a single upfront deposit equal to one monthly payment, and that’s fully refundable at the end of the contract.

Second is that it’s not just for short-term periods. Yes, you can subscribe for six months, but you can also subscribe for up to three years. And third is that there’s some confusion between car subscription and car sharing. With a subscription, the car is basically yours to use when you please – you don’t share ‘ownership’ with anyone else, aside from your nominated extra drivers - your partner or your family, for example.

Q: How aware are people of car subscriptions as a concept?

A: Not enough! I think if you stopped the average person on the street and asked: “Wouldn’t it be great to get a car and all the other stuff you usually have to pay extra for, but for just one monthly payment?” I think most people would say: “Yes, that’s great! Where do I sign?”

Subscription is an increasingly popular option with Cazoo customers, however, and awareness will increase as more people choose it and tell their friends and family about why it works for them.

Q: What are the most popular cars available on subscription from Cazoo?

A: We stock a wide range of makes and models that reflects what’s popular in the UK. So things like the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus and Mercedes-Benz A-Class are very popular at the moment. What’s most interesting, though, is that we’re seeing more interest in electric cars. We already have a good selection in stock and we’re looking at increasing that significantly – more than a third of subscription cars on Cazoo will be electric or plug-in hybrid in 2022.

Q: Are electric cars particularly well-suited to subscriptions?

A: Yes, they are. I can understand someone being a bit apprehensive about buying or financing an EV. A lot of people want to dip a toe in the water and subscription is a great way of doing that. You can have the car for six months to see if it suits you; if it does, you can keep the subscription rolling. If not you can hand it back.

Q: What are the three best things about car subscriptions?

A: First is that you don’t have to worry about unexpected costs related to having a car. Second, we have hundreds of brand new cars and used cars in stock and you can have one delivered to your door within seven days. Third, you can manage your subscription entirely from our app.

Q: So let’s talk a bit about you. Have you always worked in the car industry?

A: Yes. Fresh out of university I spent five years at BMW before moving to Google as a client manager working with car companies. I then worked for several online automotive startups, which eventually brought me to Cazoo. I’ve spent 15 years, more or less, in the industry.

Q: What’s the best thing about your job?

A: We have a hugely driven and passionate team. The pace of change, the drive to do great things, is a really, really great thing about the business. And the variety – no two days are the same. But I’m always focused on the most effective way to grow the subscriptions business and keep our customers happy.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge in your job?

A: Cazoo is on an incredible growth path and I’m regularly challenged to make the experience better for our customers, while quickly scaling the business. It’s been great.

Q: One last question: are subscriptions the future of car ownership?

A: There’s an increasing number of car subscription companies, including some launched by car manufacturers. I think there’s a recognition from the industry that owning a car, having your name on the logbook, is less important to many people than it used to be.

Of course, some people will always want to buy a car, to be the designated owner, and a subscription isn’t for everyone. But if you look at the growth of the subscription economy and the concept of making a predictable monthly payment for a service, yes, I can see it becoming a significant part of the ‘ownership mix’. And Cazoo will be at the forefront of that trend.

You can now get a new or used car with a Cazoo subscription. Simply use the search function to find one you love then subscribe to it entirely online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door, or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.