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Hyundai to Millennials: ‘Can We Interest You in a Subscription?


Millennials, the constantly-stereotyped cohort of young adults who won’t watch a black and white movie but still like cars, are every automaker’s go-to crowd for future sales.

Hyundai has announced a plan to tap these would-be car buyers in a way that drills into the very core of what they desire in vehicle ownership (or so studies show). Think of it as the Netflix approach to sales.

First off, any Millennial hoping to trade in his or her bikes for the joy of an internal combustion engine is out of luck. Hyundai’s new take on sales applies to only one model — the all-electric 2017 Ioniq, which bows with 124 miles of range.

The automaker’s “Ioniq Unlimited” offer is a subscription-based ownership “experience” that allows buyers to keep hassle to a minimum while avoiding long-term financing and lease terms.

According to Hyundai, the program, which starts as a pilot in California early next year, allows buyers to “select one fixed payment that includes unlimited mileage, electric charging costs, scheduled maintenance, wear items and all typical purchase fees such as registration.”

Accessed and initiated via the internet, buyers select the vehicle, payment and subscription length (24 or 36 months), then go to their local dealer to sign off on the deal once their credit application is complete. No haggling, Hyundai claims. It’s like buying a phone. Millennials like phones, don’t they? Of course they do!

We’re left to assume that this pilot could expand to the rest of the country if it proves successful. Actually, we’re left to assume many things, as the automaker hasn’t mentioned what all-inclusive prices buyers can expect. Other details, such as early cancellation fees, also go unmentioned.

Clearly, Hyundai tapped deeply into market research on Millennials while crafting this plan. In a wide-ranging 2014 consumer study, Deliotte discovered a car-hungry population of young adults with clear buying preferences. Of the many factors that would compel a Millennial to buy a new vehicle, the top three were low cost, fuel efficiency and affordable payment options.

Convenience and eco-friendliness ranked high on their list of concerns, but Millennials also proved three times more likely to abandon their car if costs rose. Naturally, young adults proved the most accepting of new technology, including electric propulsion. Of them, 65 percent said they’d be willing to pay more for an alternative powertrain.

Now, what were those subscription costs again?

[Image: Hyundai]

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