Porsche Drive, the carmaker’s vehicle subscription and rental service, is now officially five years old. Introduced in 2017, the app-based service is now available in 15 cities across the U.S., and its goal is pretty simple. It provides access to the brand’s extensive collection of vehicles with short-term commitment. People interested in the brand can now subscribe and rent on top of buying and leasing directly from Porsche.
While this program has blossomed over its five-year run, it’s still far from well-known. However, the carmaker aims to change that by adding more participating dealers to its network and expanding the number of available cars. I recently went out to Beverly Hills Porsche to see just how the program works and even chatted with Lauren Castaños, the dealer’s General Sales Manager, about program specifics, customer preferences, and why people who are new to the brand choose to subscribe over traditional buying or leasing.
Before going to Beverly Hills, I had to apply via the Porsche Drive App. The app collects basic information and payment via credit card. On the back end, a concierge team accesses the data and conducts a background and soft credit check to confirm eligibility. Aside from renting, the app allows users to choose between single and multi-vehicle subscriptions. I suspect most users will opt for the latter, given its flexibility.
As its name suggests, a multi-vehicle subscription allows users to pick from a variety of available cars covering the majority of the carmaker’s current lineup. Users can have these cars from a month at a time to just a day. According to Castaños, an example is how some users choose to have a 911 on most days but opt for a Cayenne or Macan when they need additional space or have other passengers to ferry around. All of this is handled through the app. The subscriber never needs to visit their local dealer if they don’t want to.
Once my application was approved, and I selected the type of car I wanted to test out, it was time to make my way down to Beverly Hills Porsche. Once I arrived, a brand-new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet sat waiting for me in the dealer’s delivery area. Since most subscribers are new to the brand, the folks from Porsche conducted a thorough walkthrough of the car, making sure I knew exactly what every switch and knob did. Anyone could show up without knowledge of the brand or the specific vehicle they’ve chosen and drive out a pro.
Following a beautiful scenic drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, I chatted further with Castaños about why she believes the program works for buyers and her experience offering it. Beverly Hills Porsche is one of the latest dealerships to provide the service, starting earlier this year, and is one of a handful in the L.A. area. In terms of price, Castaños mentioned that, in many cases, it comes down to simple economics.
A multi-vehicle subscription, which provides access to all available vehicles, currently costs $3,600 plus taxes per month. This fee includes significant items such as vehicle delivery, maintenance, and, most importantly, insurance coverage. It allows for 2,000 miles per month and has a $595 plus tax activation fee. Given the luxury and sports car market’s dizzying prices these last few years, Castaños mentioned that some potential buyers or lessors found that their monthly payment would’ve been higher than the cost of the subscription service.
Aside from providing instant access to desired vehicles, Castaños cites the program’s low commitment structure as its second major draw. In a multi-vehicle subscription, for example, the subscriber commits for one month at a time, with the ability to take breaks or pause entirely. This has given folks interested in the brand a way to live with the cars without having to fully commit first. According to Porsche, around ten percent of subscribers become buyers.
Unsurprisingly, this program has proved more popular with a younger demographic. It falls neatly in line with many other products offered directly to these generations, such as short-term rental homes, phone leasing, etc. According to Porsche, these younger subscribers are vital to foster the next generation of buyers. This is key, as most subscribers have never driven a Porsche before signing up.
According to Castaños, most subscribers prefer the 911 and Taycan over any other model. She aims to double down on this trend by adding more of these cars to her dealer’s fleet as they become available. According to Porsche, it closely monitors which trim levels are more prevalent in different parts of the country and shifts them accordingly to meet local demand. Naturally, recent supply-chain shortages have meant that growing these fleets has been a challenge, but it seems we can expect them to offer even more cars in the not-too-distant future.
Vehicle subscriptions are not for everyone, and after experiencing the program firsthand, it’s clear that Porsche knows this. There will always be folks who prefer to buy or lease their vehicle, and the carmaker doesn’t aim to change that. Instead, Porsche Drive is another avenue for those interested in experiencing the brand without a long-term commitment. While, on average, there’s a 20 percent premium for this convenience, the program’s growing user base clearly indicates that, for some drivers, flexibility trumps traditional ownership.