Subscription services are a relatively new yet controversial feature offered by some luxury car brands, and it looks like Rivian is seriously thinking about joining in. The electric car startup plans to launch a factory-direct sales model next year, and with it may come a Rivian vehicle subscription.
Big names such as BMW, Cadillac, Volvo, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and others already have subscription programs in place to give consumers more flexibility. Instead of locking an owner into just one car, body style, or range, this sort of feature offers them more choices over short and long term periods. One merely needs to pay a set monthly fee to access them.
“You may use one solution to get to and from the office during the week,” said Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe. “But on the weekend, you may want a subscription program.”
Obviously such a decision can be controversial, and the results of its implementation with other companies have been mixed at best. Usually, an automobile subscription service is viewed as a program for wealthy consumers. Since none of its models fall beneath a base price of $69,000, Rivian could easily view itself as a premium automaker, meaning that the idea of a subscription service may go over a little better to those willing to shell out the cash.
If Rivian does end up offering a subscription service, it will likely follow after the official launch of the brand next year.
Direct Sales Model
Not only that, but Rivian revealed at a recent private industry meeting that it plans to follow in Tesla’s footsteps and pursue a direct sales model. With its impressive trucks and SUVs rolling out of its Illinois factory next year, Rivian wants to sell them directly to customers without the use of a traditional franchised dealer network.
“Core for us is maintaining direct ownership of our customers, which means it’s a direct-sales model,” said Scaringe. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have partners that are working on the back end, running and maintaining and operating that ecosystem.”
Will Rivian’s relationship with Cox, Ford, and Amazon have any impact on how their vehicles get to customers? Considering the amount of money these major investors have pumped into the company, it seems likely. “If you look at the type of shareholders we’ve brought in, Amazon, Ford, and Cox are all very strategic in supporting us in creating products but also in creating really sticking and powerful customer experiences,” said Scaringe.
While Rivian’s investors may not be physically delivering vehicles to consumers, they could very well be involved in advertising, service points, charging stations, or other important aspects of electric vehicle ownership.