Wednesday October 11, 2017
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The 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS, 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet and 911 Carrera 4 GTS. ― Porsche AG handout via AFP The 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS, 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet and 911 Carrera 4 GTS. ― Porsche AG handout via AFP NEW YORK, Oct 11 — Porsche will begin an app-based subscription service next month, joining the ranks of automakers experimenting with more flexible ownership models as ride hailing and smartphones upend traditional auto retailing.

The length of the pilot, called Porsche Passport, is open-ended and initially will be limited to just 50 people in Atlanta, according to Klaus Zellmer, president of North America for the Volkswagen AG unit.

The first subscription tier starts at US$2,000 (RM8,422) a month and allows users to summon a 718 Boxster, Cayman S, Macan S or Cayenne on demand. For US$3,000 a month, drivers get access to 22 different Porsche models. Registration, insurance and maintenance costs are covered, though subscribers still have to pick up the tab for fuel. They can swap for as many different models as desired during the month.

Porsche is looking for a way to reach younger consumers whose shopping and transportation habits have been shaped by Silicon Valley giants like Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc. It’s following in the footsteps of General Motors Co’s Cadillac, which launched its Book subscription service in January, and Care by Volvo, which combines lease, insurance and maintenance into one monthly payment.

“We now have millennials who are incredibly successful and have the financial power to own a Porsche, but might not be willing to own a Porsche today,” Zellmer said in a phone interview. “We are pretty sure it will help sales, especially in the mid- and long-term.”

Porsche is partnering with Atlanta-based startup Clutch Technologies LLC, which sells analytics software that can predict which models will be in demand based on past customer behaviour, weather conditions, and other factors. The brand’s two Atlanta-area dealerships will provide service and maintenance for the fleet of cars used through the service, he said. — Bloomberg 

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