Car subscription questions answered by Mobiliti founder Chance Richie

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DETROIT is wearing a dark suit contrasted by a pink shirt and brown shoes with flashy socks. He has pale blue eyes and a firm jaw, looking exactly like the former Navy submariner he once was. These days, he’s leading a service, Mobiliti, a startup company that’s rethinking, well, mobility. The company has 25 employees and more than 1,000 registered users. It’s in four markets with ambitious plans to double that in the near future. We caught up with him in the wood-paneled dining room of the Detroit Athletic Club, where previous generations of auto barons pondered mobility in other eras.

Autoblog: Give me an overview of how works and what your game plan is.
Chance Richie: I saw an opportunity to provide customers flexible vehicle access and to provide dealers with an incremental profit source. And we do that through the Mobiliti app where we connect dealers and drivers and we make it very simple for someone to go on, select a vehicle, pay for it through our app and then they have their vehicle, insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance all bundled into one payment.

AB: How would you argue this is better than traditional leasing? Or car rentals?
CR: In my mind it’s definitely a lot better than car rental. For one thing, it’s going to be significantly less expensive. If you look at a 30-day or long-term rental from one of the major rental car companies, that’s a very expensive proposition. The Mobiliti program is designed to be cost-neutral and cost-competitive with traditional purchase and lease options. But, with that added element of flexibility and one payment for everything that you need except the gas, we like to say.

AB: What’s your strategy for going forward and what’s next for you guys?
CR: We’re in four markets right now. We plan on being in eight markets by the end 2018 and then we want to add eight to 10 markets every year after. We have a nice natural footprint now but we want to fill out and be more ubiquitous across the United States. And the good thing about the Mobiliti subscriptions is one app gives you access to vehicles all across the country.

AB: Last question, where do you see this space going?
CR: I think subscription will have an adoption rate probably similar to leasing. If you look at the lease penetration rate nationwide, it’s somewhere around 30 percent and growing. So I see subscription probably following that same trajectory, but within the next few years really being in the consciousness of all Americans that are looking to acquire a vehicle.

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