Book by Cadillac All-Inclusive Vehicle Subscription Service Gets Big Reboot

Unlike the first time around, Book will heavily involve dealers to help them transition into a future where people 'buy fewer cars.'

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Book by Cadillac, a subscription service that gave customers access to a fleet of cars from the General Motors luxury brand for a set monthly fee, was shelved in November. Now, though, Cadillac is planning to revive the service with some major changes, brand marketing boss Deborah Wahl said in an interview with Automotive News.

The biggest change for the revived Book by Cadillac, or "Book 2.0," is that dealers will be heavily involved. Under the previous iteration of the service, Cadillac owned all of the vehicles and handled most day-to-day operations. Wahl said the new version will instead be based around Cadillac's dealer network. She said Cadillac hopes to use the program to help dealers transition to a future where fewer people buy and lease cars.

Lack of dealer involvement was a point of contention for the first iteration of Book by Cadillac, according to Automotive News. Dealers have long been wary of automakers attempting to usurp them by selling cars directly to customers, as evidenced by Tesla's various battles with car dealer associations. A group of California dealers is currently petitioning to block the Care by Volvo subscription service in that state. Melody Lee, who headed Book by Cadillac before leaving the automaker in August, previously told Automotive News that there was a long-term plan to involve dealers. Cadillac first wanted to get the service established and make it profitable, she said.

In its original form, Book by Cadillac gave users access to a fleet of Cadillac vehicles for a $1,800 monthly fee (plus a $500 first-time "initiation fee.") The monthly fee included insurance, maintenance, and other running costs. Customers could swap cars at any time, although they were only allowed 18 swaps per year.

Wahl told Automotive News that the new version will focus less on vehicle swaps since fewer customers than expected were making switches. The service will relaunch as a pilot program in select cities, Wahl said. New York City, where Book by Cadillac originally launched and where Cadillac was headquartered for a time, will not be included, she said. The relaunch will coincide with a large-scale overhaul of the brand that will also see Cadillac focus on electric cars.

Book by Cadillac got off to a rocky start, but several other automakers are jumping on the subscription service bandwagon. In addition to Cadillac and Volvo, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche operate their own subscription services, although some are only small-scale pilots. Ford operates Canvas in California, while its Lincoln brand has a subscription service for used cars. Jeep will test a subscription service in concert with Avis.