Renting, leasing, or subscribing to your next vehicle – which model works best for the modern consumer?
Slade Thompson, GM of Sales and Marketing at subscription-based and Toyota-led Kinto One South Africa.

In a world dominated by economic change and innovation, traditional vehicle ownership models are constantly being challenged by alternatives and various financing options to suit the modern consumer.

According to GM of Sales and Marketing at subscription-based and Toyota-led Kinto One South Africa, Slade Thompson, the future of car ownership is changing and it’s going to have a drastic impact on both businesses and consumers.

“Leasing and renting have been long-time staples in the automotive industry providing individuals and businesses with flexibility and temporary solutions. Subscription now offers a whole new paradigm that offers the benefits of leasing and renting but also provides maintenance, insurance, and other services, all bundled into a single monthly payment.”

With subscription-based companies like Toyota’s Kinto One leading the charge in South Africa, Thompson says it's essential to understand the key differences between renting, leasing, and subscribing when it comes to vehicle ownership.

Renting: A Short-Term Solution

Thompson says renting a vehicle is a short-term arrangement typically utilised for immediate transportation needs. It offers flexibility in terms of duration, allowing individuals or businesses to rent a vehicle for a day, a week, or even a month. Renting is ideal for travellers, tourists, or those in need of temporary transportation solutions.

Features of Renting:

  • Short-term Commitment: Renting offers the flexibility of short-term commitments, making it suitable for temporary transportation needs.
  • Limited Customisation: Renting doesn't usually allow for customisation options. Renters typically choose from available vehicles without the ability to tailor contracts to specific preferences.
  • Minimal Financial Obligation: Renting involves paying a daily or weekly fee, with no long-term financial commitment or responsibility for maintenance and insurance.

Leasing: Long-Term Commitment with Options

“Leasing a vehicle involves a longer-term commitment than renting,” says Thompson. “Typically, this spans two to four years or even longer. It offers the advantage of driving a new vehicle without the upfront costs associated with ownership.”

He says leasing agreements often come with mileage restrictions and may require a down payment.

Features of Leasing:

  • Longer-Term Commitment: Leasing involves a more extended commitment compared to renting, typically spanning multiple years.
  • Customisable Contracts: Leasing contracts can be customised to include specific mileage allowances and options for vehicle upgrades.
  • Maintenance and Insurance: While the consumer who took the lease is usually responsible for regular maintenance, leasing agreements may include warranties that cover major repairs. On top of this, insurance is typically the responsibility of the lessee.

Subscribing: Flexibility and Comprehensive Services

Subscribing to a vehicle, as offered by the likes of Kinto One, combines the benefits of renting and leasing while adding a new layer of flexibility and convenience.

“Subscriptions typically include a comprehensive package covering maintenance, insurance, roadside assistance, and sometimes even vehicle upgrades. A subscription would require minimal responsibility on the side of the subscriber while presenting the benefits of ownership with none of the hassle.”

Features of Subscribing:

  • Comprehensive Services: Subscriptions offer a comprehensive package that includes maintenance, insurance, roadside assistance, and sometimes vehicle upgrades, bundled into a single monthly payment.
  • Tailored Contracts: Subscribers have the flexibility to tailor contracts to fit their individual or business needs, including choosing mileage allowances and vehicle models.
  • Long-Term Affordability: While subscriptions may involve a longer-term commitment, they offer the advantage of predictable monthly payments without the risk of unforeseen costs.

While renting, leasing, and subscribing all offer unique benefits, Thompson believes subscribing to a vehicle provides a compelling alternative to traditional ownership models. With its flexibility, comprehensive services, and affordability, he says vehicle subscription services are reshaping the way individuals and businesses approach mobility across the world and will likely dominate the vehicle market in decades to come.

“As the landscape of mobility continues to evolve, subscribing to vehicles emerges as a promising solution for those seeking convenience, flexibility, and peace of mind in their transportation needs. Given the economic state of most consumers in today’s market, subscription promises to be the best solution for long-term, adaptable, and scalable mobility needs.”