The ‘Netflix‘ model of car ownership is on the rise for drivers who need wheels–without the debt

After Tiffany Ford McLemore‘s car was destroyed in an accident, the single mother of four needed a new one. Quickly.

Yet she didn‘t want to take out another auto loan and so she researched her options. That‘s when she stumbled on flexdrive, which calls itself for cars, and is one of several new companies offering vehicles through a subscription.

“I love the flexibility,” Ford McLemore said. She now drives her children to sports and band practice in a 2018 Volkswagen Jetta.

Automakers, dealers and start-ups now offer car subscriptions as an alternative to the traditional financing model, which increasingly involves going into significant debt. The services typically charge a flat monthly fee that bundles together all the disparate expenses of car ownership, including insurance and maintenance.

“There‘s a reason consumers are gravitating toward these services — what‘s out there right now isn‘t very good,” said Gary Hallgren, president of Arity, a technology start-up founded by Allstate.

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