Special Report from Kirk Bell, Motor Authority and Detroit News
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will kick the tires on three car-sharing and car-subscription services with its Jeep brand beginning at the end of January.
According to The Detroit News report, Jeep will launch two pilot services in Boston to test the waters on what consumers would want from a full-scale service. The first is the car-sharing platform, which Jeep calls Peer-to-Peer and will operate with Turo. Turo is a service that allows anyone to rent out their car while it’s not in use. According to an FCA spokesman, starting in January, Jeep is inviting owners by email to register their vehicles with the program and is looking to sign up 100 owners.
All of those owners will come from the Jeep Wave membership program, which provides such benefits as free oil changes, 24/7 support, and merchandise discounts. Turo will tell owners how much they stand to make by renting out their vehicles when they aren’t using them.
For the subscription pilot, The Detroit News reports that Jeep and FCA will offer a three-month-long subscription that gives customers the ability to swap into a few other FCA vehicles including a Dodge Challenger and Ram 1500. According to the FCA spokesman, FCA is not looking for a partner for this program, which means it will likely be run through dealers. No timetable is set for this program, but it should launch in Boston some time this year.
The third program is called “Car Borrowing,” and FCA has partnered with the rental car company Avis for this one. Starting in February, Jeep owners in Boston will be able to purchase six “Jeep Coins” that each entitle them to a one-day rental of most Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram vehicles. The coins will be good for a year, and participants will be able to pick up the vehicles or have them delivered.
Mainstream automakers have shied away from subscription services thus far. Luxury brands introduced the concept with hefty monthly fees that include maintenance, insurance, and a varying amount of miles. It’s unclear what other services and add-ons FCA’s trial services will includes, and FCA has not disclosed pricing.
However, Detroit-based rival General Motors has jumped into the car-sharing game via its Maven division. Maven launched Peer Cars last year that gives GM owners a platform to rent out their vehicles when they’re not in use. Soon, the service will accept other brands’ vehicles, too.
If it seems like FCA is pulling multiple levers at once, it is. Jeep’s North American-market head, Tim Kuniskis, said the goal is to receive feedback on both programs’ attributes to potentially build a wide-scale service with a winning formula.