How Netflix for Cars came to Wollongong | Mercury of Illawarra

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Buying a car has been a sign of maturity and independence for many generations. But, just as other major purchases like housing have become out of reach for younger generations, fewer Australians are buying cars. Read more: Egyptian street food, Shellharbour’s new flavor Car sales in Australia have been steadily declining since 2017, and in 2020 only 900,000 new cars were sold, well below the peak of 1.36 million in 2013. Car sales have not been as low as they are now since 2003. COVID-19 has worsened this trend, with industry experts predicting that car prices will remain out of reach for many due to the shortage of essential semiconductor chips. However, these trends do not change the fact that having a car is sometimes essential. Whether it’s for work, travel or life, having access to a vehicle can make a big difference. To address this, a number of car subscription services have sprung up in capital cities, and there is now one for Wollongong. Hitchhiker Cars, part of the Southern Classic Group, recently opened on Flinders Street in Wollongong and offers locals the chance to get behind the wheel without having to buy a car. The service also differs from car rental and car sharing services by allowing subscribers to have exclusive access to their vehicle – unlike car sharing – and for a longer duration than car rental. According to Emma Volcanovski – managing director of Hitchhiker Cars, the decision to launch the service in Illawarra came from the founder’s 30 years of experience in the automotive industry and recent changes in consumer expectations. “The auto industry, like many others, is now seeing the growing popularity of subscription services and how a new generation of consumers expect this model to be available as an option.” Hitchhiker Cars offers a range of vehicles including SUVs, utility vehicles and 4x4s and many are brand new. The subscription-based plan covers costs like registration, insurance, service, maintenance, and roadside assistance. Customers will need to cover fuel, tolls and miles driven beyond the limit set by the plan. Before obtaining the keys, customers must go through an identity check and a credit report. Once these are completed, the driver then has access to the car for a minimum of 30 days. “Car Subscription is the perfect option for someone who needs a car on a short-term or ongoing basis – without the restrictions of car rental or the financial burden of owning a car. “said Ms. Volcanovski. To read more stories, download the Illawarra Mercury news app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Sign up to receive up-to-date emails below…


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