It’s hard to find information on how the program is doing as a whole. Volvo added new models (and increased prices) to the program, but its also facing an investigation by the State of California. Automotive News and Cnet’s Roadshow report that the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles is going to investigate the program on behalf of dealers. Apparently dealers had asked the board to make the company halt the program. The board is going to look at 4 claims pertaining to be in violation of the state’s vehicle code. Per Roadshow:
- The first claim alleges that Care by Volvo diverts customers away from dealers and toward the automaker itself.
- The second claims that the automaker failed to properly inform dealers and the state board about the subscription service.
- The third allegation levied at Volvo involves preferential allocation of vehicles and sales to specific dealerships.
- The fourth claim is the one that had dealers asking Volvo to shutter its program in 2018. This alleges that Care by Volvo constitutes “payment packing,” which stems from the idea that Care by Volvo’s single-price structure (including insurance) fiddles with numbers to make high-risk and low-risk buyers pay the same amount in the program. The dealer association’s letter claims that Care by Volvo is a lease product, not anything different, and is thus in violation of California law.
What this all pretty much stems from is dealers are attempting to say that Care is some sort of direct to consumer sales program. And we all know they don’t like direct sales. The complaint is under the guise of protecting consumers. But if the powers that be really wanted to protect consumers, they’d take a closer look at and get rid of franchise laws...but anyway.
Could this spell doom for the program? Maybe, maybe not. These subscription programs are murky as it is, and the value is not usually there. So this is something I will be watching closely. But back to the models that Volvo has added.
Care originally started with the Millennial targeted XC40. Now the program includes both the XC60 and XC90 and S60 and V60 cross country. When the program debuted about a year or 2 ago now, the XC40 started at $500/month. That price has increased to $700/month. At this price, it’s no longer appealing. Pricing for the other models are :
- S60 $700/month
- V60 $750/month
- XC50 $750/month
- XC90 $800/month
Pricing for all is crack pipe to me, even with the all inclusive nature of the pricing. And in the case of the XC40, it’s rendered as redundant as the bigger V60 and XC60 are both just $50 bucks more. As a way of trying to get people to electrify as well, the S60, XC60 and 90 are all plug in hybrids as well. And while you can choose between Momentum and R-Design trims on the XC40, trim choices are limited on the V60, XC60 and 90. XC60 and 90 can only be had in Momentum trim and V60 can only be had in Cross Country trim. The S60 can be had in Momentum or R-Design trim. Selecting the R Design trim on the XC40 and S60 increases the price by $50 as well. Anyway you go about it, you’re going to be paying high end luxury car money for these models.