Audi and BMW shut down car subscription programs

Cadillac may be trying a reboot, however.

Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

More car subscription services are running into trouble. According to Autoblog, Automotive News has learned that Audi and BMW are respectively ending and pausing their services. Audi is winding down its Select program on January 31st with no mention of a revival, while the Nashville-only Access by BMW is closing as the automaker develops the “next iteration” of the service.

The two brands haven’t elaborated on their decisions. When Mercedes-Benz shuttered Collection, however, it cited mediocre demand and complaints about the hassles of switching personal items between vehicles. While it wasn’t mentioned at the time, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped matters. People are commuting less if at all, and may be more interested in saving money than the flexibility of swapping cars.

Subscription ervices like Volvo Care are still going, although it’s not certain how well they’re faring.

There may be a slight revival. Automotive News claims Cadillac is testing a resurrected Book service with dealers, although it would arrive a year after the brand’s hoped-for early 2020 revival. However, the overall market appears to be contracting — for now, at least, the subscription strategy hasn’t panned out as expected.