Not sure how this is going to play in Peoria, but Cadillac today announced it’s going to try a new service called BOOK, designed to cater to the elite. It’s a subscription-based luxury-car service where you pay a flat monthly fee of $1,500, and in return you get to book and use any Premium Level trim Cadillac vehicle for whenever you want for as long as you want. Monday feel like an Escalade? Book it. Tuesday a CT6? It’s yours. You can choose from a V Series, and even the XT5 if you desire. No need for insurance, maintenance or even detailing the vehicle. The most you’ll pay for is gas. There’s no limit on mileage, and there’s also no long-term contract. You can go month to month. There will be an app that the subscriber can use to reserve vehicles, and a white-glove service will drop off and pick up at the location of your choice.
Sounds great on paper, but as always, with new ideas come more questions. First, who owns the cars, Cadillac or a dealership? According to Cadillac public relations, Cadillac will own and manage all cars in the book system. These cars will not be counted toward monthly sales. And while insurance is covered, BOOK members will have a deductible in the event of a serious accident. Through the app, members will be able to see what’s available and can chose from a model, so they can see if a car they want is even open. Cadillac won’t disclose how many vehicles will be part of this problem, but say there will be a mix of Escalade, Escalade ESV, CTS-V, ATS-V, CT6, and XT5s. As far as the dealers are concerned, Cadillac says that it believes it will help drive more traffic to the dealers. It envisions scenarios where “BOOK members switch to more traditional ownership models such as leasing and financing if they find that they mainly use one particular vehicle within the BOOK program.” Cadillac also replied that, “We see BOOK by Cadillac working in conjunction with our traditional sales efforts to target a consumer sector who may not be considering Cadillac or traditional automobile ownership at all.”
Cadillac is going to pilot the program in New York City, which makes sense because no one there wants to buy a car anyway, and you can use it for weekend jaunts. The plan is to start in NYC and spread the program to other areas. If this takes off and is available around the country, the service also could mean a big savings to companies who frequent rental car agencies as well. Getting a shuttle to your hotel then having Cadillac drop off a vehicle for you to use that week or longer can be a plus. We don’t know what the break-even amount is to have a handful of uncounted sales units racking up miles running around the country, or if this might be a big boon to the Cadillac CPO program. Or even if $1,500 a month is too steep a price for customers. The automotive industry has become increasingly competitive with so many great cars, and the desire for customers — especially luxury car ones — is more important than it’s ever been. Time will tell if this was a great marketing/sales move, or a passing fancy.
Here’s Cadillac’s take on BOOK:
Photography courtesy of Cadillac division, General Motors Corp.