Car ownership is going the way of the dinosaur, folks.
It wasn’t long ago that the car represented your Get Out of Town Free card, a trusty wagon in which you could hightail it across the country to win back Minnie Driver.
But it’s not just young people steering clear of buying cars these days; families are buying homes later, living in cities longer and deploying a combination of public transport and ride-sharing to get around. The auto world, of course, has noticed. Berlin’s Lynk & Co pedals “open-sourced,” shared cars through a digital platform, Mercedes got in on a peer-to-peer rental program called Croove in 2016 and Jaguar’s busy imagining a 2040 with “personal steering wheels” that could slot into any car from a fleet of nearby self-driving vehicles.
And now Porsche, which launched Porsche Passport a year ago, is doubling down on its commitment to the sharing economy. Passport, quick refresher, offers Atlanta-based customers (Porsche HQ is in Atlanta) monthly subscription services for access to a variety of Porsche models. For $2,000 a month, you can enjoy access to eight different vehicles, and for another grand, access to 22. (Whatever car you choose, it’s yours for the month.)
Porsche's new programs umbrella out from that premise, and are dubbed Porsche Drive and Porsche Host, respectively. Drive is basically a short-term geared version of Passport: you can reserve a car anywhere from a few hours to a full week, and prices range from $269 for four hours in a Macan to $3,000 for a week in a 911. Drive is currently only available to Atlanta area drivers.
Meanwhile, Host will launching in Los Angeles and San Francisco this October 8th in concert with premier peer-to-peer sharing app Turo. Porsche will oversee a legion of sure-to-please five-star car sharers, who will rent out Porsches to interested drivers in the area anywhere from one day to a month.
All of this is smart, and other luxury automakers ought to take note. Engineers and designers are going to keep trotting out more superlative models each year, and gearheads and left-lane junkies will respond in kind.
But how many lay-drivers have a chance to get behind the wheel of a Porsche? Injecting convenience into that experience — moving ever more micro from ownership to car-sharing to short-term renting to hourly renting — puts the brand in front of a new audience and gives drivers a chance to test the specs before perhaps coming back later to actually purchase one. Not to mention our favorite use case for the two programs: impressing a boss, father-in-law or date.
For residents not in Atlanta, Los Angeles or San Francisco, hold tight for updates on a possible expansion of the services. You can find more information on the launch here.
Image from Porsche Newsroom