Here's how car subscription services can work for you

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There's streaming through Netflix and music through Apple. Now, there's a car subscription through Ford. (KGO-TV)

There's streaming through Netflix and music through Apple. Now, there's a car subscription through Ford.

We keep reporting that millennials value experiences over stuff. So why not experience a car, rather than owning one?

The Ford parked outside of a Burlingame home is neither leased nor bought. Gianna Fornesi didn't rent it either.

Back home in the Bay Area after living in New York City for years, she went online and subscribed to Ford's used-car subscription service, Canvas, as in a blank canvas.

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"Quite literally clicked buy and it appeared in front of my house two days later. I didn't have to go anywhere, I didn't have to do anything, disrupt my work day," Fornesi said. "It came at 9 a.m. Signed the paper, went to work, it was as if nothing had happened. I just had a car."

Canvas is headquartered in San Francisco. It offers a car and all the fixings for a single monthly price.

"We bundle everything. The insurance, the maintenance, the warranty, the roadside assistance, and all you have to do is add gas," said Allison Braley. "Canvas is really a very simple solution"

Braley heads up marketing for Canvas. She tells me you can sign up for a single month, several months, a year or more.

So what is the catch?

"You have to have a good driving record to use Canvas," Braley said. "You have to be 21 plus, and you must have a valid U.S. driver's license."

Seven carmakers offer subscription services in various U.S. cities. Of those, only Canvas and Care by Volvo are here in the Bay Area.

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"The automakers are test driving this," said Carroll Lachnit, Director of Consumer Advice with Edmunds.com. "Setting up tests in Nashville and Philadelphia, in Atlanta to see how these programs work before they take them wide."

She says subscriptions can appeal to auto enthusiasts who like to trade in and out of cars.

They also appeal to drivers like Fornesi.

"I don't know anything about cars. I don't want to know anything about cars," she said. "I just need it to get me around. That is my whole thing, I just want it to work and get me to where I need to go and that's why I did Canvas."

There are another half dozen car subscription services offered by third parties and dealerships. They are scattered around the country and operate different niche services. A company called Less operates in the Bay Area.

Take a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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automotiveautomotiveauto industryauto newsdrivingconsumer7 On Your SidefordvolvoSan Francisco
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