Entrepreneur

There's This New Car Subscription Service In M'sia, But We're Not Sure If We Can Afford It

Besides a house, a car is probably one of the most expensive assets that you could ever consider buying.

Even worse if you live in KL, since it was ranked the 5th most expensive city to buy mid-size cars in Deutsche Bank’s 8th annual survey.

Buying a car also means spending years paying off the debt it brings, even as its value depreciates on an average of 10% to 20% annually.

In the end, the amount of money we put into our car will far outweigh the price we can sell it off for.

One Malaysian startup attempting to solve this concern is Flux, and we spoke to its team of ‘Fluxsters’ to learn more about how they’re doing it.

Putting The Industry In Flux

Flux is a self-funded startup founded by Aziz Ayman and Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz in 2018.

With Flux, you can subscribe to ‘own’ a car for as short as 1 month up to 36 months, or switch from car to car every month.

The longer the subscription, the lower the fee, though the fee varies from car to car.

For example, the cheapest option is a Kia Picanto 2018 for RM1,221 per month on a 1-month subscription, or for RM814 per month on a 36-month subscription.

Image Credit: Flux

On the other hand, the most expensive option, a BMW 630i GT M Sport 2019, costs RM15,907 per month on a 1-month subscription, and RM8,837 per month on a 36-month subscription.

When you subscribe, there are 3 mileage packages to pick: Lite (1,250km per month), Standard (2,000km per month), and Unlimited (capless mileage). Except for Lite, which is free, the other 2 packages will cost an add-on fee that varies depending on the car you pick.

You can choose from 57 cars that range from luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes to mid-range ones like Honda, Toyota, and Kia.

Image Credit: Flux

Most of the models listed have only 1 unit available, and the car you see in the picture is the exact one you’ll get. However, Flux told us that they do intend to offer multiples of all models on their platform, including a variety of colours as well.

The subscription fee you pay includes the cost of insurance, road tax, and car maintenance. In essence, Flux takes care of all the chores for you, and even throws in some additional ones like a pick-up and drop-off service for your car.

When we asked what would happen if a user damages their Flux vehicle, the team told us, “They simply have to make good on the damage as long as it does not necessitate an insurance claim. If it does, Flux imposes a minor Accident Fee if the accident was the fault of the member.”

Switching Gears

Now, you might be thinking: doesn’t GoCar’s subscription service already offer what Flux does?

Upon first glance, it definitely seems that way. When you subscribe to a GoCar vehicle, you’re committed to it for a month. Like Flux, a GoCar subscription comes with coverage of road tax, insurance, and car maintenance too, but unlike Flux, its unlimited mileage is already included in the package.*

Editor’s Update: The information in this paragraph has been edited to reflect a more accurate statement.

But here’s where Flux and GoCar operate a little differently. On GoCar, you’re subscribing to a vehicle itself, whereas on Flux, you’re subscribing to its platform and thus, its services.

Image Credit: Flux

Think of Flux as a Netflix for cars, where you’re not tied down to a single car (though you do have to stick with it for at least a month). 

In times of financial difficulty, you have the option to downgrade your subscription by subscribing to a cheaper car.

Switching to another Flux vehicle, however, will cost a standard fee of RM375, which excludes tax.

Another difference is also the choices you have. Compared to the multitude of choices on Flux, you only have the choice of 4 vehicles with GoCar: a Nissan Almera, Renault Captur, Nissan Serena S-Hybrid, and an Infiniti Q70.

Driving Change

Besides serving their customers, Flux wants to leverage its technology to create safer roads and lower driving incidents.

Image Credit: Flux

According to a statement from Dr Zeti, by using vehicular telematics installed in all their cars, Flux aspires to find a way to use the data collected to incentivise better driving behaviour in the future.

This is the same telematics device that immediately dispatches emergency services to your location in case you get into a traffic accident while driving your Flux vehicle.

As for more immediate plans, a Fluxster told Vulcan Post, “We’d like to continue growing the business by increasing inventory across as many makes and models as possible to cater to all needs and wants.”

They’re also paying close attention to customer demands to procure the exact cars that are being requested.

Currently, Flux is only available in the Klang Valley, but the team shared that they plan to expand their services to other states as well.

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As someone who owns a car, I don’t think I would have been a user even if these services were more prominent back then, as I still enjoy the sense of ownership.

But I can see the appeal of a service that allows you to switch your car up whenever you feel like it, and that is probably Flux’s main advantage over other car-sharing services.

Neither their prices (which I personally wouldn’t describe as affordable) nor the services they provide (except for the pick-up and drop-off one) appeal to me, except for the ability to switch between a growing selection of vehicles.

However, if you’re a car enthusiast, like having options, want a short-term car ‘ownership’, and can afford it, then Flux is your playground. 

  • You can also read more on startups in the automobile industry here.

Featured Image Credit: Flux

 

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