Volvo Belux and ALD give subscription model a tryout with XC40 (update)

Following sister-brand Lynk & Co’s wake, Volvo Car Belux and ALD/LeasePlan are giving the subscription model a tryout in Belgium by offering private individuals a personal lease contract for a popular Volvo XC40 – and only that one – which can be canceled after one month. More details are released after inquiry while Volvo Cars Belux prepares its website for the launch.

The trim version offered will be the basic ‘Core’, with Apple CarPlay and four years of Google Assistant, Google Maps en Google Play Store included. There seems to be no way to upgrade to Plus or Ultimate with features like Pilot Assist or a panoramic sliding roof for the time being. Delivery of the XC40 BEV should take some 15 days; the XC40 T2 is available from October.

The minimum contract is one month, the maximum of 36 months, and terminable monthly without extra charges. It starts at €639 per month for a Volvo XC40 T2 automatic gasoline version in Vapour Grey color only and €820 for the fully electric XC40 Recharge (Silver only).

No options (except a towing hook) are available, 15 000 km annually included. Extra kilometers are invoiced at 0,08 euros. And all insurance, maintenance, and private lease services are included, of course.

Offering flexibility

The proposed subscription model is to offer flexibility to private individuals in uncertain economic times, says Johan Portier, Country Managing Director van ALD Automotive/LeasePlan, and it is “the key to the mobility of the future.” But flexibility has limits, as no higher trim options are available.

What Volvo proposes mimics the offer of Lynk & Co, Volvo’s Chinese-Swedish sister brand headed by Belgian Alain Visser, who launched the idea of the monthly subscription model for a car more than eight years ago internally. Visser was Volvo’s Senior Vice-President Sales and Marketing and became CEO of the new Lynk & Co brand in 2015.

The brainchild of Alain Visser

The subscription model, like a streaming service subscription, was his brainchild. He believes owning a car that remains unused for 95% of the time is a thing of the past. Subscribing and sharing are the future.

Meanwhile, his subscription model has already been rolled out quite successfully since 2021 in several European countries with the Lynk & Co 001 PHEV. It is technically a twin brother to the Volvo XC40, but some 20 cm longer and has a different body style.

Lynk & Co started offering the 001 at a fixed price of €500 per month, only available in two colors: blue or black, but full-option with all whistles and bells available, except for a towing hook.

And that was a miscalculation, Visser had to admit, as the Dutch and Swedish where the offer was launched first massively wanted to use the car in their free time to tow a caravan or carry bicycles. So the – only – option of a removable towing hook was added for €40 per month. Volvo Cars Belux won’t be making that mistake and will offer the option of a towing hook. No price mentioned yet.

From €500 to €600

By keeping customization as limited as possible, Visser was able to keep costs as low as possible and offer a subscription price that goes well below current leasing prices. Even though he had to raise the monthly subscription fee two times by 50 euros to €600 today. Or was it the bigger success than imagined initially that tempted Visser to add more margin for the brand itself?

Lynk & Co offers all services, taxes, and insurances included and 1 250 km per month or 15 000 annually. When exceeding that limit, an extra fee of 0,20 euro is charged per kilometer, but if you don’t use your kilometer budget fully in one month, the remaining kilometers are added for the next one.

Sharing model

A difference is that Volvo and ALD/LeasePlan’s offer is limited to private individuals only, not for company cars, while the latter is possible at Lynk & Co.

What remains unique for Lynk & Co is the possibility for its users to sub-rent their car to other individuals for a couple of hours or days, setting an hourly or daily renting price themselves. The whole process is insured and managed by Lynk & Co. for its subscribers through a dedicated app and is completely automatic.

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