Mobility, Technology ,

AUSTRALIAN car subscription provider Carly has released its quarterly financials showing a 221 per cent increase in live subscriptions compared with 2019 with an equivalent jump in the value of the subscriptions.

Carly, part of publicly listed company Collaborate Corporation, said the data shows the service is continuing to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

Collaborate CEO Chris Noone said: “Carly’s flexible, low-risk vehicle access is proving popular with Australians at a time when the economy is uncertain and personal circumstances can change overnight.”

He said that the financial results for the September quarter aligned with a recent OmniPoll survey that said 38 per cent of Australians would consider subscribing to a car rather than buying or financing.

Sophia Phillips, 22, who took out a subscription after her car was recalled due to a manufacturing fault.

“These strong company results reflect the generational shift towards car subscription and that consumer preferences towards flexible car access are accelerating in the current economic climate,” Mr Noone said.

“The no-strings-attached nature of subscription is particularly appealing to digital natives, with 69 per cent of Generation Z (18-24 years) and 50 per cent of Millennials (25-34 years) stating they are most likely to reject traditional ownership or financing options in favour of subscribing to a car.

“This position is echoed by 47 per cent of households-with-children also now considering subscription for their next family car.”

Mr Noone said Australians were actively looking to reduce risk in their finances because of COVID-19 and the car subscription model appeals because it is a familiar format and risk-free alternative to a big financial outlay.

“With no lock-in contract, they can hand back the car without financial penalty with just 30 days’ notice should their circumstances change,” he said.

Two best mates from Sydney’s Upper North Shore, Marc Lindberg and Nick Rowell, founded Lust Liquor, a company making low-calorie alcoholic drinks. They turned to Carly to access a car for the growing business.

“Carly’s unique offering of no upfront fee or deposit further mitigates risk in the minds of Australians, offering genuine financial flexibility.”

Mr Noone said an example of the type of subscriber choosing the service over car purchase was 24-year-old Sydney-based finance analyst Jake Hanlon.

Mr Hanlon found Carly on LinkedIn and calculated that a car subscription was a more cost-effective option for a driver under the age of 25.

“At my age you want things to be as quick and easy as possible and you don’t want to make any long-term commitments, especially financially, so a car subscription was a no-brainer,” he said.

“A key benefit of Carly for me was, at my age, individual insurance costs are very high and on top of that, taking out a loan to buy a car was something I did not want to commit to, in terms of being obligated to make repayments in these uncertain times.”

Mr Noone said Carly car subscription was a practical option for younger motorists because they could choose the vehicle that best suited their current circumstances or switch it for another vehicle if those circumstances change.

“Car subscribers can use the car for as long as it meets their needs,” he said.

Chris Noone

“If their needs (or wants) change they can switch to another model or stop altogether and go car-free for a while.

“And, given that young people are avid users of subscription services such as Spotify, Netflix and mobile plans, the leap to a car subscription isn’t a big one.”

Carly subscription does not need finance to access a car. It packages the cost of car registration, roadside assistance, comprehensive insurance, CTP and maintenance into one monthly payment without a deposit. Subscriptions can be stopped with 30 days’ notice without penalty.

Last month, Mr Noone told GoAutoNews Premium that car subscription was growing rapidly in the Australian market and that there was a similar shift expected in New Zealand because “spending big on material possessions like cars – or taking out loans to eventually own them – is increasingly being viewed as a risky move by NZ consumers.”

Collaborate announced that in the September quarter, Carly’s car subscription transaction value has increased 64 per cent compared to the June quarter. It was also up 218 per cent compared to the September quarter in 2019.

The period also saw a 28 per cent increase in live subscriptions compared with the June 2020 quarter and a 221 per cent increase compared with the September quarter of 2019.

By Neil Dowling