Lincoln Motor Company’s “Canvas” vehicle subscription service hasn’t been the smash hit that Ford’s premium luxury brand had hoped it would be, failing to attract many takers, and just as bad, struggling to hold onto many customers longer than one or two months. The service was launched in California as a pilot program, with Lincoln hoping to gauge the feasibility of a wider program launch and gain valuable insights into consumer preferences that could help improve the service in the future.
At the same time, the premium marque thought, it might keep some 2015-2017 vehicles out of auction, helping protect residuals, and could help lead some users into purchasing or leasing a Lincoln vehicle at the dealership.
Lincoln’s subscription service allows customers to rent from the company’s available pool of used contemporary vehicles – including models like the Lincoln MKZ and Continental sedans, and the MKC and MKX crossovers – for extended periods, at a cost of between $550 and $900 per month. That amount covers auto insurance and any servicing that ends up being required for the duration of the rental.
Lincoln Motor Company Director of Marketing, Sales, and Service Robert Parker told Automotive News (subscription required) recently that he was “surprised how few people are genuinely interested in that type of ownership.”
“If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said this is the next big thing. A lot of people are struggling to make the math work.”
Unfortunately, public interest in the service is less-than-hot, and of the people who do subscribe, “the amount of people coming out after one or two months is very high,” Parker said. “It’s just kind of an interim process,” being used largely by people whose own vehicles are in the shop for an extended stay, or who are waiting to take delivery on a new vehicle, he said.
Despite the early difficulties, Lincoln Motor Company remains committed to the idea, and plans to tinker with its subscription service to try and boost their numbers – perhaps by playing with vehicle availability or bringing the service into the dealership.
(Hat-tip: The Truth About Cars)