Although Netflix itself can be kind of frustrating sometimes, it has given us a useful shorthand: Netflix for [Insert Thing Here]. In many ways, Netflix for cars was inevitable in today's weird economy. Thanks to proliferating startups in the space, it's getting more affordable and more widespread as an option.
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Certain car manufacturers, like Volvo, Cadillac, and Ford, began experimenting with this model last year. Volvo's subscription service, however, was running around $600 per month. CNBC recently profiled several new companies that provide the all-in-one coverage for a lot less — sometimes as low as $150 monthly, depending on the year and model of the vehicle.
One California-based startup, called Fair, has an explicitly beneficial bent built right in: "We want to eradicate auto debt," chief consumer officer Edward Brojerdi told CNBC. "We don't think you should take out a loan for a depreciating asset."
Each service varies, but in essence, a flat fee will get you roadside assistance, maintenance, insurance, and your choice of car, from the eminently practical to the deliciously fancy. It's a good choice for anyone who only needs a car for a set amount of time, or who really needs to be airtight with their budgeting. Buying a car is still a better option for a long-term investment, but it's rapidly becoming more expensive. These days, an average monthly car payment comes to $533 for new cars and nearly $400 for used, all before added costs. Until we've shaken off our student loans and credit card debt, Netflix for cars might be just what our wallets want.