Owning a car comes with plenty of joys, but it can also be quite the drag. Financing, insurance, maintenance, and all the other responsibilities that come attached with keeping a new car with your name on the title can all add up to a headache that’ll leave you reaching for the aspirin. And that’s not even mentioning those odd times when the car you went to all that trouble to park in your driveway doesn’t quite fit your needs — say, when you can’t squeeze that massive load of mulch you just bought at Home Depot into your VW GTI.
Luckily, there’s a new way to ease that pain: Hertz’s new car subscription service, which removes a lot of the unpleasant parts of the process. The new service — which has the slightly awkward name of “Hertz My Car” — is designed to bundle up all the individual costs and burdens of automotive ownership into a single, flexible package. For one flat fee, users will have not just access to vehicles, but also have maintenance, roadside assistance, vehicle damage and limited liability protection covered.
While car companies like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Cadillac have all dabbled in car subscription services in recent years to varying degrees of success, their versions — for obvious reasons — lock users into vehicles from one make. Hertz My Car, on the other hand, offers people access to the broad range of vehicles from multiple manufacturers found in the the rental car company’s fleet. (Fellow rental car agency Enteprise also offers a subscription service, but at a slightly higher price than the Hertz model.)
At the start, the rental car company will offer two different levels of membership. Tier One, which costs $999 per month, offers users a choice of full-sized sedans like the Nissan Altima and smaller trucks and SUVs like the VW Tiguan and Toyota Tacoma; Tier Two membership goes for $1,399 a month, but that nets you access to luxury sedans like the Cadillac CTS, large pickup trucks like the Ford F-150 and larger SUVs and crossovers like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as all the cars found in Tier One. (Neither of those monthly fees include taxes, however; there’s also a $250 enrollment fee that kicks in once your membership is approved, and you need to be a member of Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards program to join up.)
There are a couple caveats, but they seem fairly minor. Drivers will be limited to 2,000 miles per month; still, considering that works out to 24,000 miles per year, it’s far more than most leases allot, and more than most Americans drive. (You’ll be docked $0.35 for every additional mile you drive per month.) And you won’t be able to jump from car to car at a whim, as Hertz My Car limits users to changing cars twice a month unless they want to pay $75 a pop for extra exchanges. Still, that means members could theoretically cycle through 36 vehicles a year without being billed an extra dime.
Hertz My Car is still in the early phases, and as such, is only available in Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia for the moment. But given the growing desire for more flexible methods of getting from A to B, it’s easy to see this catching on around the country — something the company certainly seems to be open to. “We look forward to combining the insights we gain there with our fleet management and service expertise to expand Hertz My Car leveraging our extensive network of more than 3,500 Hertz locations nationwide,” Hertz senior vice president Jayesh Patel said in a press release. On behalf of everyone who’s struggled to jam bags of dirt into a compact, we hope they can expand it soon.
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