By Kelly Bai
Translation by Emile Tran
Once I dreamt that I’d walk into my huge garage every morning and pick out the car according to my needs and desires, like I do with picking out my attire each day.
This is the ultimate dream for every car enthusiast. I was back in reality fairly quickly – now I only have a double garage, not to mention the financial challenges it would bring if I purchase all the cars I like, but who knows? Perhaps my dream will become a reality one day.
I must say, there is still a gap between reality and the dream I once had – I have not owned every car I like, nor do I have a huge garage. However, I can still choose my car according to my changing needs and desires. My concierge will clean my car, fill up the tank and deliver it to the place and at the time I want. When I get tired of it, I can flip to another car as often as every few days or every week. These cars are my favorite brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, Land Rover, etc. Better still, these cars are at most 2 years old.
The service I tried was Portfolio, a luxury car subscription service launched by Open Road in 2019. Like Netflix, you pay a flat monthly fee and Portfolio will deliver the car you request. Subscribers can choose from three different packages – The $3,499 month-to-month subscription allows you to drive 4 different cars in a month; $2,999 per month for three months allows you to drive 5 different cars in a month; and $2,499 per month for six months allows you to drive 6 different cars in a month. The monthly fee includes comprehensive vehicle insurance, maintenance, pick-up and delivery through a 24-hour concierge service.
Once you become a member, you can download the Portfolio app onto your smartphone and begin subscribing. You will be asked a few simple questions, such as your hobbies and driving purposes. Your answers will allow the system to learn more about you and to better find a car that matches your needs. If you have a car in mind, simply input a description of the car and your concierge will do its best to fulfill your request. For example, I had a sports car club event on the first weekend of my subscription, and was looking to purchase a Porsche at that time. I really wanted to try a Porsche’s sports car, so I stated in my remarks that I wanted a European sports car. The next day, a silver Porsche Boxster S was delivered to my doorstep. In the second week, I flipped to a Porsche Cayman as I wished.
According to Portfolio’s Manager Alex Parsons, there are now 9 brands with 28 cars to choose from. This number will continue to rise, and the models will continue to change according to the season, so do expect to find different models in summer and winter times.
In other words, if you pay a monthly rent equivalent to a two-bedroom apartment, you can try a variety of luxury cars worth over $100,000. This seems even better than my dream. At least I don’t have to worry about maintaining and insuring the cars. This works as long as I don’t want to own them. However, if you find yourself to have fallen in love with a specific car over this short-term relationship, it gives you firm grounds in considering a purchase.
Portfolio is interpreting modern life in a new way and leading a new luxury style – the key here is not to possess, but to experience.
Alex believes that Portfolio can be used as a prelude to buying a car. If you want to buy a luxury car and is hesitant between brands and models, Portfolio offers you a relatively long test drive, giving you a clearer understanding and a driving experience of each model. Ultimately, you can select the one that suits you best.
Moreover, Portfolio is perfect for the lives of modern young people, who like to change cars constantly and are faced with the limited parking spaces in apartment buildings. Portfolio’s service addresses these problems. Business travellers are also Portfolio’s target service group. They work in the Greater Vancouver area for one or two months or even half a year. With Portfolio, they don’t have to purchase a car. The concierge can take the car to the airport and it is ready for them to drive away once they get off the plane. When their trip comes to an end, they can arrange to have the concierge pick up the car at the airport, which is quite convenient.
Go on a date night or weekend getaway in a convertible Porsche Boxster S or Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 Cabriolet, attend a major business meeting with the BMW 5 Series or Genesis G80, and travel afar with the Cayenne or Audi Q7 on the road… .. Portfolio is interpreting modern life in a new way and leading a new luxury style – the key here is not to possess, but to experience.