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VEHICLE subscription specialist, Carly, is having record sign-ups so far this year off the back of drivers seeking more flexibility of ownership in economically challenging times and the availability of cars from stressed car rental companies quitting stock.

The car subscription model has two requirements; drivers who want to avoid making a long-term commitment to a particular car and the availability of plenty of vehicle owners wanting to generate revenue from idle stock.

Both these requirements have come together for Carly; especially in May and June.

Chris Noone, the CEO of Collaborate Corporation, which owns Carly, told GoAutoNews Premium: “Things are going pretty well.

“Our enquiry rate for car subscriptions during the initial stages of the Covid-19 restrictions in March to April increased by 39.6 percent vs January to February.

“In May, the enquiry rate increased yet again to 88 percent vs January to February.”

A breakdown of state/city performance showed:

  • Sydney enquiry rates increased by 20.2 percent during March-April (vs Jan- Feb) and 57.18 percent during May (Vs Jan-Feb)
  • Melbourne enquiry rates increased by 11.73 percent during March-April (vs Jan- Feb) and 52.80 percent during May (Vs Jan-Feb)
  • Brisbane enquiry rates increased by 80.56 percent during March-April (vs Jan- Feb) and 133.98 percent during May (Vs Jan-Feb)

“Our Brisbane market vs Sydney and Melbourne has seen the strongest growth in enquiries with an increase of 133 percent since the pre-COVID period of January to February, reflective of QLD being up and running much faster than NSW and Victoria.”

Mr Noone said: “During COVID, things slowed down a little. But we have just had our best week ever so that is a pretty good situation to be in.”

He said that, in writing record levels of subscriptions, Carly was placing record levels of idle car stocks with drivers.

“We are bringing in vehicles from dealers, ex-lease vehicles and also from the traditional car rental fleets.”

Mr Noone said the rental car companies were an especially strong source of cars right now because of the lock-down of the tourist and business travel industry.

“There is not much happening at the airports at the moment,” he said.

Chris Noone

“Previously it was a bit of a challenge for us getting supply. But, as soon as COVID hit, all of a sudden we had quite good supply and that has been one of the contributing factors to us converting more enquiries into actual subscriptions because we do have a broad range of supply at the moment.”

Asked if he thought there may be issues of supply of new cars moving forward because of the slowing of new cars into Australia from overseas car plants, Mr Noone said: “Our model is fairly flexible. At the moment there may be some constraints in the new car channel but then we are able to turn our attention to the rental channel and to the ex-lease vehicles that are coming through as well.

“So at some point in the cycle new cars make sense to us, at some point used cars make sense to us and at other times maybe fairly new rental cars make sense for us. So we can be fairly flexible in where we secure supply.

“Overall, no matter what the situation, we are fairly comfortable that there will be good supply coming through,” Mr Noone said.

By John Mellor