Wagonex is a startup that believes the future of cars is shared. And just like Netflix has made the idea of buying a DVD for life obsolete, founder Toby Kernon and head of growth Joakim Thomter are hoping to do the same for cars.
The Plexal member’s subscription service offers a seamless and flexible alternative to owning a car that doesn’t involve having to hand over a huge downpayment to enjoy the benefits of driving. The package includes insurance, roadside assistance, servicing and maintenance – so all drivers need to do is pay for the subscription and decide whether to have a vehicle delivered or collected. The only extra cost after that is fuel. Contracts reflect people’s desire for flexibility and run from one month to two years, so in theory you could subscribe to different cars depending on your shifting lifestyle needs or the changing seasons (an SUV for the winter and a convertible for the summer, for example).
Sharing and subscription-based models like Wagonex tend to work for things that cost a lot to buy that people don’t need to use often. It’s an appealing concept for people who are a bit fed up with wastage and conspicuous overconsumption. It’s also placing expensive purchases within the grasps of the many rather than the few. In Singapore, Acquired Time allows people to subscribe to get a different watch each month while Wagonex aims to give people the freedom to drive a car, even if they can’t afford to own one outright. And, given that millennials (and millennials) are characterised by their preference for rental or streaming services that give them all the access without the burden of ownership, companies like these are not going anywhere.
What’s not clear yet is how the trend will play out in the mobility landscape. As more people flock to cities, space will become even more expensive and not everyone will be able to have their own car parked outside their home, as the RAC has pointed out. Having a fleet of shared and connected autonomous vehicles could reduce car ownership, but we’re definitely not there yet. Meanwhile, interest is growing in the potential of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which will offer people integrated transport services in response to their needs first (rather than based what mode of transport they want to use). There are multiple innovative movements happening in tandem, but which ones will prove most successful at catering to demand for choice, accessibility and flexibility?
As for Wagonex, things have recently moved up a gear. The startup has just announced a pilot partnership with PSA Finance that will see the manufacturer’s cars (which include Peugeot, Citroen and DS models) being added to the platform.
Commenting on the news, Wagonex’s founder and chief executive officer Toby Kernon said:
“The subscription model has transformed many other industries and the motor industry is moving in this direction as our relationship with owning things changes dramatically. Manufacturers now acknowledge this is the direction the automotive sector is heading, which creates a significant opportunity for independent mobility brands like Wagonex to take the lead.”
Well done Wagonex, and we’re thrilled to go on this journey with you.