Cadillac was one of the first brands to launch a subscription service. Called Book, the service allowed users to access Cadillac's lineup including the Escalade and CTS-V for a monthly fee. But only a year after it launched the program, General Motors is pulling the plug.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news this afternoon, learning from sources that the company will end operations of Book by the end of the year. Subscribers will have a 30-day window from the time they notified to turn in their vehicles. A GM spokesman confirmed the closure.
According to sources, certain aspects of Book proved to be quite costly. A key example was some of the back-end technology used to support the service "made some customer-service functions tedious and time-consuming, adding costs for the company." This move comes a few days after GM announced that it would be offering voluntary buyouts to 18,000 salaried workers.
Analysts say car subscriptions bring a number of headaches with trying to deal with the logistics of keeping vehicles repaired, cleaned, and delivering them within a short time frame.
“Some of these services will even transfer your stuff from car to car, from your phone charger to your kid’s stroller. The problems posed in offering that level of service at scale are vast,” said Ivan Drury, senior analyst with Edmunds.com.
The GM spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the program could restart in the future.
“We are hitting the pause button for a brief time to make some tweaks to Book [by Cadillac] based on our learnings,” he said.
Cadillac isn't the only brand that is rethinking the whole subscription model. Hyundai closed down their program which offered Ioniq Electrics only in California, though the brand is planning a revamped version to appear in the future. Lincoln is looking into making changes to their service which offers off-lease vehicles.
Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)