We are in this new era where you can sit behind your desk and order waakye to the office. You can book a cab service on your phone without necessarily standing by the roadside or bus stop. You can earn a degree without being in the classroom but by just being behind your computer. These are the times we are in. The old school stuffs are gone and the tech age is here.
The tech age has brought up many businesses and the automobile industry is no exception. Owning a car, traditionally, has been coughing up thousands of Ghana cedis to buy one or going for a loan from a financial institution. This has been a headache for many especially young middle-class families.
There is another alternative to own a vehicle aside spending a chunk of money at a goal and that is VEHICLE SUBSCRIPTION. So, what is vehicle subscription? As defined by Wikipedia, it is a service where a customer pays a recurring fee for the right to use one or more automotive vehicles for a period of time. Just like subscribing to an internet bundle for a month, that’s how it works. It has been in existence since the year 2014 in the United States of America and its wide-spreading in Europe.
A lot of things go into the vehicle subscription service. The customer pays a specific amount of money to the OEM (ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER) or dealership to use the car for a month. The specification of the vehicle and how long you want to use the vehicle determines most part of the fee. Vehicles can be subscribed from a month up to a year or two. The customer can shuffle between a range of vehicles being provided or available and this is really enticing. Customers use mobile app platforms provided by the service provider to subscribe to the service. The fees also cover for the vehicle insurance, the maintenance of the vehicle and roadside assistance when the car has a breakdown.
Some auto dealerships charge for enrolment fees before the subscription fee. If a customer returns the vehicle in a bad state, he or she pays a default fee for the damage. Some dealerships use new vehicles whiles others use used vehicle and this also contributes to the cost of the fee. Apart from the OEMs and dealerships, other third party auto firms also provide this service which is not necessarily backed by the manufacturer.
So, my question is how this service can work in Ghana.
In my opinion, this service can be realistic in Ghana if the auto dealerships take up this initiative. Just as ride hailing has changed the face of cab service and transportation, vehicle subscription is also seen as the next wave in this modern era of innovations.
Dealerships in the country should see this as an option to make profit aside the traditional selling of vehicles. They do not always need to wait for directives from the OEMs upstream.
With the correct packages and fee, customers will like to patronize such service. They need to also educate their customers on how such services work.
They also need to up their tech game. It’s not common for customers to do online booking for their vehicle maintenance in Ghana even in this era and this is bad. These services run on mobile apps and softwares. They need to be up to the trends and not be left out. This will also help them in tracking vehicles they have given out to their clients. Also, they need to have well equipped mobile maintenance teams so as to help their customers when they have breakdowns on the road.
Booking app by Cadillac
Also, there should be a legal framework to guide this kind of service. This is to direct the dealerships and private firms on how to run this service and also to protect the customers from being exploited.
A whole lot of changes and new ideas are springing up in the automobile industry and we shouldn’t be left out as a country.