Book ’em Again, Danno: Cadillac’s Revised Subscription Service Coming Later This Year

General Motors is readying another automotive subscription service after canceling “Book by Cadillac,” which was deemed too costly to keep operational, several months ago. However, whether that was due entirely to its own failures or related to the fact that the company is aggressively hunting for capital through its restructuring program is up for debate.

There were grumblings that the program’s complete lack of dealer involvement was a good way for Cadillac maximize profits (without sharing them). But, with it failing, it was also an excellent way to incur unnecessary costs. As a result, the brand intends to make its expansive dealer network an integral part of the fast-approaching “Book 2.o.” 

“Book 2.0 really works even more closely with our dealer network because we think there’s a lot of opportunity as you go forward,” Cadillac marketing chief Deborah Wahl told Automotive News at the Detroit auto show. “We’re going to base it off the dealer network.”

The old program’s $1,800 monthly fee covered insurance and other costs, like maintenance. Subscribers could also swap between models with no extended commitments. They only had to order a replacement vehicle online, select a pickup point, and then wait for their corporate concierge to deliver the new car. However, leaving Cadillac solely responsible for every aspect of that plan created problems for the brand.

It’s unclear whether dealers would own the vehicles or simply handle the exchanges in the updated subscription program. Wahl only said the new service will include different messaging and technology, creating a lessened focus on customers being able to switch between vehicles. Cadillac has said fewer customers were swapping between models than initially expected. Though, we were under the impression that was the biggest draw for subscription plans since they don’t make a lot of financial sense to the customer otherwise.

The new program wants to tap dealers to help cope with upcoming changes in vehicle ownership patterns and keep any swapping that does happen more fluid. “We have to recognize that all of us — from the manufacturers to the dealer networks — we have to evolve our models to keep up with where consumers are,” Wahl explained.

The first phase of the revamped program will include pilot programs in select cities, most of which were included in Book 1.0. New York, where the program was initially launched and Cadillac was formerly headquartered, will not be involved. At least, not immediately.

Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said the program should launch around the end of the first quarter of this year, or possibly the second if progress is slow. “We have some things to work out, but we think will be better all around — from a consumer point of view, from our point of view, from a dealer point of view,” Carlisle said.

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