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An EV Subscription Is The Best Car Deal This Memorial Day Weekend

American glads in honor of memorial day

May 26, 2022

An EV Subscription Is The Best Car Deal This Memorial Day Weekend

If you’re thinking about getting a new car in time for summer, you’re not alone. Last May, Americans purchased over 1.5 million cars, in no small part due to the Memorial Day sales that many dealerships offer. May is also cited as one of the best months to purchase a car because it kicks off the summer season when people want to be out and about again.

But if you think Memorial Day offers an opportunity to get a good deal on a car, there’s more you should know. Because the holiday weekend’s markdowns are no secret, you will face intense negotiation and competition at a busy dealership. Who wants to start their summer with that headache? Plus, many of the deals may not be as sweet as dealerships pledge.

If you want to avoid a frenzied spree of shifting promises this Memorial Day, you might choose to steer clear of buying and leasing altogether. Americans are increasingly embracing car subscription services, a more flexible way to access mobility.

Ditch the dealership drama this Memorial Day weekend

The anxiety that car dealerships breed is often no accident. Many bank on most customers becoming too overwhelmed or exhausted to stand their ground on a price point. In fact, the practice of “payment packing,” or adding on extra fees after getting a customer to agree to a price, goads many buyers into paying more for extra products they may not need. 

Payment packing became familiar to Jesse Toprak, chief analyst of electric vehicle subscription company Autonomy, when he started selling cars in Rockford, Illinois, to pay his way through graduate school in the 1990s. He quickly moved up the ranks to head up the dealership’s financing and insurance office, where he became familiar with common dealership sales approaches.

Jesse says payment packing goes a little something like this: After you’ve reached an agreement on the vehicle price with a salesperson, you go to the finance department, where “the finance guy looks at your quote and says, ‘We can buy the car today, but I am obligated to explain these other options.’” They then go on to describe three options — each, a bundle of add-ons in ascending total price for things such as an extended warranty, paint protection, and an alarm system. 

“Packages are in addition to the quoted amount,” Jesse explains. And rather than breaking down individual add-ons by line, the presentation of three “packages” creates the illusion of choice for the customer while obfuscating the fact that you don’t have to choose any package at all. “Fifty percent of customers pick a box without asking further questions,” Jesse notes. “A lot of people probably do not know that dealerships make as much money on the back end of the deal, if not more, than they do on the front end.”

But even if you do manage to escape payment packing unscathed, you may still end up paying more for your car than the agreed-upon price. There is a fee for nearly everything, including registration, title, dealer, destination, documentation, advertising, and market adjustment. And today’s auto landscape of high demand and low supply usually means additional markups in these fees as well. 

All together, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars on top of your agreed-upon car price in fees. Some say you should be prepared to pay up to 10% of the vehicle’s price in fees alone when purchasing a new car at a dealership. And all of these concessions are made before the ultimate sacrifice: bearing years of long-term debt for your car. 

Avoid fees and long-term debt altogether with an electric vehicle subscription 

The reality of fees, price packing, and long-term debt doesn’t sound much like the blowout car sales we hear advertised for Memorial Day weekend. So, what if the best car deal this holiday isn’t buying or leasing a car from a dealership at all? 

A car subscription takes a familiar model (think Netflix or Amazon Prime) and applies it to cars. For a monthly payment, you get access to a vehicle and enjoy other included benefits, such as maintenance and roadside assistance. You don’t take on debt to finance the car, and you don’t assume the long-term commitment of leasing or owning the vehicle. Most importantly, there are no last-minute dealership bids for adding extra features replete with surprise fees. Your costs are transparent, and you don’t need to haggle with a salesperson.

In addition to going the subscription route, another way to avoid paying more for your car is to choose an electric vehicle (EV). Most prospective drivers forget to factor gas into their car budgets, but the pump will soon become part of their weekly expenses if they’re buying a car with a combustion engine. Gas is the ultimate surprise fee. The average American household spends $250 on gas every month. For this reason, EVs are becoming the more financially savvy way to drive. 

In the past decade, Tesla has become the top-selling EV in the U.S. But you don’t need to own a Tesla to be a part of the the eco-conscious, stylish brand. Autonomy is a vehicle subscription service offering subscribers access to Tesla Model 3s. You can sign up on your phone with a driver’s license and credit card in as little time as 10 minutes and get behind the wheel without waiting months. There’s no deception at the dealership and no surprise fees. The price is “exactly what you see,” says Jesse, the former dealership pro, describing the model he now champions through Autonomy.

In our increasingly unpredictable world, the biggest businesses tout the importance of adaptability and scalability. With a car subscription, you can participate in this adaptable economy on an individual level. Autonomy’s minimum three-month subscription tees you up to be far more agile than any years-long plan at a dealership. Plus, subscriptions are cheaper on average than leasing and buying Tesla Model 3s.

On top of the economic benefits, access to a Tesla Model 3 affords you an opportunity to join in the effort to clean our planet’s air. A Tesla subscription just might be the best car deal you’ll find this Memorial Day weekend and the most elevated approach to mobility all year round.

Picture of Baylor Knobloch

Baylor Knobloch

Baylor is an experienced storyteller working as a writer and editor for Sharp Pen with a background in journalism and media production. When not crafting tech communications, she writes and edits for online publications In The Know and Humor Darling. Baylor earned her BA at Brown University.

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