In brief: Subscription services are all the rage these days. Platforms like Netflix, Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and countless others charge a monthly fee in exchange for ongoing access to their respective content libraries. However, this monetization model has use cases that extend beyond the digital world. In a press release published today, Nissan announced its first baggage-free car subscription service: "Nissan Switch."
Nissan Switch is the carmaker's attempt to bring "on-demand driving" to the public, allowing users to drive a wide variety of vehicles on a month-to-month basis with no long-term agreement or contract required. There are no loans to pay off, no leases to worry about, and no maintenance disasters to contend with.
"Nissan Switch is another way that Nissan is testing alternatives to the notion of traditional mobility, without long-term financial commitments for our customers," Nissan executive Andrew Tavi said in a statement. "This program provides more choice, convenience, and flexibility. For those who want a sedan during the week and an SUV or sports car, like the GTR, on the weekends, Nissan Switch provides the solution."
So, how does Switch work? If you're in a supported region -- just Houston, Texas for now -- you sign up for Switch, download the app, select your use case (custom requests are possible) and vehicle model, and a "concierge" (employed by Clutch) will deliver a car to you within the "Select Service Area." For now, the Select Service Area consists of the 20-mile radius around the South Main Neighborhood in Houston. You can see a full coverage map on the Nissan Switch website.
If you decide you don't like the vehicle that was delivered to you, you can switch it out for another one at any time, with no limits. There's no charge to do so, and your concierge will help you transfer luggage, groceries, or other objects from vehicle to vehicle.
Nissan's Switch car line-up includes EVs, sedans, SUVs, trucks, and sports cars, and they all fall under one of two core subscription packages. Nissan Switch Select is $699, in addition to a one-time $495 "activation fee." Select gives you access to the Nissan Altima, Rogue, Pathfinder, and Frontier.
Nissan Switch Premium is $899, and it includes the same set of vehicles, in addition to the Nissan Leaf, Maxima, Murano, Armada, Titan, and 370Z. The GT-R can be driven for an "additional $100 per day" (but no more than seven days at a time).
Update: A Nissan representative has informed us that Switch will limit customers to 2,000 miles of driving, or 180 days of general usage for each individual vehicle (whichever comes first). When either one of those limitations is exceeded, the user will be required to switch to a new vehicle. In some circumstances, Nissan may ask for the vehicle back early if it needs to perform "routine tasks" like preventative maintenance.
No matter how you look at it, even the base plan's $700 (plus roughly $500 out of the gate) monthly fee is a lot of money for a lot of people. However, there are a few benefits to using the service. Aside from the convenience of being able to swap your car out at any time, Nissan throws in free roadside assistance, full detail washes, ongoing maintenance, and a "sustainable liability insurance policy" with no out-of-pocket deductibles for drivers.
Nissan is positioning Switch as an alternative to the standard lease-and-drive, or buy-and-pay-off car acquisition methods US citizens are used to. The company even has a chart that compares buying or leasing a vehicle to "renting" one with Switch (see that above).
At any rate, you can learn more about Switch on its official website. In the meantime, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the concept. If you had the money, would you take advantage of a "car subscription service" like this one, or would you prefer to stick to what you know? Tell us in the comments.