Volvo trims its car subscription to just four months

Volvo has tweaked its subscription car service, bringing forward the cancellation period on Care by Volvo so that drivers can return the car after just four months. Launched in 2017, the subscription competes with vehicle leasing, and includes not only the Volvo itself but insurance, servicing, and other fees in a single monthly payment.

At launch, Care by Volvo operated on a 24 month subscription. New drivers would sign up and, assuming they were approved, would have a vehicle for two years. However, they could also opt to switch vehicle after 12 months, restarting that two year clock in the process.

Now, however, Volvo is changing that. New sign-ups to Care by Volvo will be able to cancel their subscription any time after four months have expired, the automaker says today. Assuming that's the case there'll be no early termination charge, though any excessive wear beyond the included $1,000 waiver will incur a fee, as will mileage above the 1,250 miles per month allowance.

The change also covers vehicle swaps, so that Care by Volvo subscribers can now switch to a different Volvo model after four months rather than twelve, too.

Volvo has massaged how its subscription service operates several times since it launched three years ago. Last year, for example, it significantly expanded the number of models that were eligible for the program, which until that point had consisted of just the XC40 crossover and the S60 sedan. In August 2019, however, it added options from just about every model line Volvo has.

Early 2020 saw another big change. Initially, Care by Volvo had relied upon direct vehicle orders for specific trims: subscribers would sign up through the app, and their car would be specially ordered and delivered to them or their chosen dealership. The automaker had tweaked how that order process operated to trim the wait-time, including more instant decisions on subscriber eligibility, but it could still take days or even weeks to get the car.

This year, however, it expanded to cover vehicles in retail stock. That allowed new subscribers to go to their nearest Volvo dealership, pick a vehicle, and sign up to Care by Volvo right there, meaning they could drive their chosen model away on the day. Although pricing can still be undercut by piecing together a lease, separate insurance, and maintenance separately, Volvo's stated goal has always been more about flexibility and simplicity. Later this year, the XC40 Recharge – Volvo's new all-electric crossover – is expected to be added to the scheme.