Danish ‘:Dribe’ ogles Belgium for expanding its car subscription platform

Danish car subscription start-up ‘:Dribe’ is ogling Belgium to export its fully digital platform to the rest of Europe. Offering subscriptions of 30 days and the freedom to switch cars when needed, this concept of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) goes beyond any car leasing platform, the company claims.

“We want to do this in collaboration with a Belgian car distributor closest to the Belgian market state,” the Danish say in a press release. And being part of Denmark’s most significant car importer, Semler Gruppen, which specializes in all Volkswagen brands, it looks like its peer in Belgium, D’Ieteren, could be a perfect match?

Greek Kosmocar taking the bait

The first to take the bait was the Greek car distributor Kosmocar. Kosmocar is the official importer of Volkswagen in Greece, with brands like Audi, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Ducati motorcycles in Greece and Cyprus. Does it ring a bell?

“Belgium is a dynamic and densely populated country with around 11.7 million inhabitants. “Dribe, a leading car subscription company from Denmark, is now focusing on the dynamic urban lifestyle in Belgium by offering easy and flexible access to cars,” the company states.

After five years of pioneering in its home country, the Danish start-up backed by Semler is looking to expand in Europe by offering its platform to franchise-takers with an extended car fleet. Dribe says it can offer “a digital end-2-end subscription concept that includes everything you need to run and operate a profitable car subscription business effectively.”

That includes the whole back-end platform and the front-end with a straightforward smartphone app that lets users choose the car they need for that moment, subscribe for a month, use the app to unlock the vehicle at the drop-off location of their choice and manage their subscription.

Choice from 38 cars

A quick look at the :Dribe ‘garage’ offered online in Denmark shows there is a choice from 38 cars, mostly VW-related (VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat) and a few low-cost compact models like the Fiat 500, Peugeot 208, or Opel Corsa. There are four pick-up locations nationwide: Aalborg, Aarhus, Søborg, and Fredericia.

You must be at least 21, but some more expensive cars may require you to be at least 26. You’ll also need to have three years of documented accident-free driving. When parents who subscribed want their youngsters to drive the car too, that will require an extra 200 DDK (€26.8) insurance for that period.

Prices vary from 4,399 DKK (€589) for the Fiat 500 on gasoline to 10,999 DKK (€1,474) for a fully electric Volkswagen ID.7 or 14,599 DKK (€1,956) for an Audi Q8 e-tron. That includes everything except consumables (fuel or electricity): a 30-day rental fee, service and repair, full insurance with a deductible of up to 5,000 DKK (€670), road assistance, and a standard ‘package’ of 1,000 kilometers.

Kilometer packages

You can choose the kilometer package up to 4,000 km as needed. Excessive kilometers will be charged at a fee specific to that car, and kilometers not used during the 30 days are not transferable.

To give an idea, an Audi Q3 1.4 S-Line hybrid will cost you 8,309 DKK (€1,113) for 30 days with 1,000 km. Driving 3,000 km with it will cost you 1,550 DKK (€208) extra, or about 0,10 euros per km. It might look expensive, but it’s cheaper to drive yourself to the South of France than renting a comparable car over there during the holidays.

Total cost of ‘ownership’

The ‘total cost’ of the car is the main USP for Danish :Dribe to advertise its services. That can be cheaper than buying and financing a new vehicle yourself over 48 months. Dribe created a quick guide on its website calculating what it costs to ‘Dribe’ a Skoda Blackline 1,5 TSI 150 DSG compared to leasing or purchasing.

For a car like this with an initial base price of 332.993 DKK (€44,635), the total yearly cost when buying and financing it is 71,945 DKK (€9,644) over 48 months or 5,995 DKK (€803.6) monthly, taking into account a residual value of 166,497 DKK (€22,318).

That includes an inital downpayment of 66,598 DKK (€8,927), monthly payments of 3,555 DKK (€476,5), insurance at 499 DKK (€66.8), and tax at 107 DDK (€14,3) per month, 299 DDK (€30,6) service and repair agreement and 218 DKK (€29) monthly for winter tire change.

The same car will cost you Dribe 69,888 DKK (€9,368) yearly or 5,699 DKK (€763.9) monthly. That’s still more expensive than a private lease (65,100 DKK or €8,726) per year or 5,425 DKK (€727.2) monthly. But then you’re hooked up for a 12-month contract at least, compared to 30 days with a subscription.

Nevertheless, it can’t beat the Swedish-Chinese Lynk & Co concept, which offers the 01, a large plugin-hybrid SUV for €600 a month, all included and terminable with a 20-day notice. But for this one, a victim of its success, a waiting time of seven to nine months is not unusual…


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