Car ownership is under threat from many angles. The rise of ride share services, availability of car-sharing services and now you can subscribe to access to a car without the headaches of maintenance, insurance and registration. This week, another car subscription service launched. Carly lets you pay a weekly fee that gives you access to a car.
A Carly allows subscribers to choose a car to suit their lifestyle without upfront fees, long-term lock-in contracts and finance. At this stage, the service is only available in Sydney.
Chris Noone, from Carly, says "Carly is fully online and we deliver the car to you. You can join today and drive tomorrow".
I spoke to Noone last year about another service the company runs, DriveMyCar, that lets individuals rent their cars out where they're not in use.
Weekly charges start at $119. That will put you behind the wheel of a 2009 Mazda 3 or a 2008 Hyundai Tucson. At the other end of the spectrum, a 2012 Audi Q7 will set you back $490 a week.
Rental periods are locked in at a month and include maintenance, insurance, registration, roadside assistance and delivery to you. The charge includes up to 1200km of driving each month with excess kilometres changed $0.30.
If you're bored with the car, or need something different, you can switch cars each month. So, while a smaller car might be good most of the time, you might prefer a larger vehicle for holidays. Or, if you won't need the car for a month while you're away, you can return it and take a month off from payments.
The service is similar to CarBar+, which I took a look at last year.
My back-of-the-envelope calculation on buying and maintaining a 2009 Mazda 3 for three years came out like this:
- Purchase cost: $12,000 giving a finance cost of $4200 per year
- Registration: $820 per year
- Insurance: $750 per year
- Maintenance (one service, tyres assuming three years of use) for a year: $750
That's $6520 per year, or $125 per week. So Carly is marginally less expensive. However, if you take some time off and don't need the car, then you can save a month of rental and you have the flexibility of switching vehicles when it suits if your needs change without the hassle of selling a car and buying another. And if your budget gets tight, you can skip a month or two, revert to public transport and Uber, and then return when finances get a little easier.
That makes services like Carly well worth considering.