Porsche, Range Rover and more added to auto dealer's luxury rental program

Excerpts from the article by Dan Eaton on Columbus Business First

Porsche, Range Rover and more added to auto dealer's luxury rental program

Germain Automotive Group’s car subscription service blew past its initial goal as it prepares to expand.

Last fall, the Columbus-based auto dealership group launched Drive Germain, a monthly car subscription service that allows its members to flip from vehicle to vehicle as their needs and desires demand.

“It’s scary when you start something like this,” Austin Germain, chief “flip” officer (aka the head of Drive Germain program). “You know that it sounds like a good idea, but you always wonder if people will respond.”

They have.

The company set a goal of 50 signups for the year. It already has surpassed 60.

Germain said that figure includes folks who have stayed in the program as well as others who have used it for a shorter period, either as a bridge between vehicle purchases or as “a long-term test drive,” to put it one way. The short-term users aren’t an issue because many of them then chose to purchase a car through Germain.

“This is a service our competition doesn’t provide,” Germain said. “Even if they don’t stay in the program, we’ve been able to form connections with those consumers.”

Now the program is adding on its higher tier option of vehicles. Tier one launched last fall and for $1,000 a month (plus a $500 one-time activation fee) users have can choose from among vehicles including the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Toyota Tundra and Honda Odyssey.

The average price of the cars on that tier is $45,000. The subscription covers vehicles, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and includes unlimited miles and unlimited exchanges.

Tier two goes live May 1 at $1,500 a month with choices including a 2018 Porsche Macan, 2018 Range Rover Sport, a Chevrolet Corvette and other sport and luxury choices. Average value of those vehicles is $70,000.

Germain had the task of picking the vehicles for the upper tier offering.

“It’s like a curator at an art museum, trying to pick the best you have to offer,” he said. “I looked at performance, luxury, size, brand recognition.”

The emphasis is on vehicles people might want to drive for a short period of time, but might not want to own.

“You look for different things if you’re planning to drive a car for three years versus three weeks,” Germain said. “I looked for bold colors, performance features.”

Atlanta-based Clutch Technologies, which works with other dealer groups around the country too, is Germain’s partner on the program.

“We started this as a way to change the look of retail,” Germain said. “You have subscription services for glasses, movies, clothing, dog toys. Granted, this is a little more extreme than BarkBox, but why not cars?”

Raed the article on Columbus Business First