Volvo launches new car subscription service in UK

Volvo has launched its Care by Volvo subscription service across the UK, claiming that the scheme offers a “genuine, flexible alternative” to buying a car.

The scheme has previously been trialled on a regional basis in the UK, but will now be offered nationwide across Volvo’s full range of cars.

The monthly subscription payment covers the car, scheduled servicing, ‘wear-and-tear’ maintenance, replacement tyres, roadside assistance, road fund payments, tax and 10GB of in-car wi-fi per month.

Monthly payments start from £599, for an entry-level XC40 T3 Momentum, with no deposit needed. Insurance can be added as an option, with Volvo offering new customers a 30-day trial.

Customers can sign up to the Care by Volvo scheme online or at one of the Swedish firm’s dealerships, and cars can also be delivered. Customers can give three months’ notice to either switch cars or withdraw from the scheme.

Conor Horne, Care by Volvo’s UK boss, said the package was designed to be “transparent, convenient and flexible”.

He added: “It is a great way for people to access the car they want, avoiding the complexities and the long-term commitments associated with traditional car ownership.”

The trial version of the scheme included the ability for subscribers to swap cars for a short period; for example, enabling them to borrow a bigger car for a family holiday. That option has been dropped from the full version, because Volvo said there was limited demand for it.

Horne said that he expected most of the take-up to come from new customers, and that he didn’t believe the subscription scheme would end traditional finance offerings. He compared it to the growth of ebooks, adding: “The Amazon Kindle didn’t kill the book, it just complemented that market.”

Horne added that the initial plan was for Care by Volvo to account for around 5% of its UK deliveries next year, although there is a belief it could exceed that. Take-up in other countries has exceeded expectations following coronavirus lockdowns.

Earlier this year, Volvo UK boss Kristian Elvefors told Autocar that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated a shift to digital car sales platforms, and would be likely to have a lasting impact.

“What we’ve done in terms of actions to tackle the coronavirus has essentially been two years’ worth of digital development in just eight weeks,” he said. “Despite the lockdown, we decided not to furlough many of our staff to make sure that we could keep a lot of people working on new developments that would help us keep customers interested and really help when it was time to restart.