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Now, here’s something that has really lighted up our team chat group. Imagine a car buffet with no commitment, and you’re not stuck to just one brand, but can choose from anything ranging from a Kia Picanto to a BMW 530i. That’s the promise of Flux, a new car subscription service that has just launched in Malaysia.
Unlike some start-ups, the product that Flux is selling isn’t a copy of something that already exists. Car subscription is a recent phenomenon, and so far, it has been experimented by car companies seeking new ways to push out their wares to the young, who if you haven’t already realised, aren’t really into traditional ownership. Downloading MP3s and ripping off CDs was yesterday, Spotify is today.
“It’s unbelievable that in 2019, the only financially attractive way a Malaysian can have access to a car 24/7 all year round is through a hire purchase loan. Because buying a car, a highly depreciating asset, is probably the worst financial decision a household can make,” said Aziz Ayman, founder and CEO (pictured below).
“I founded Flux to challenge the status quo and offer a better alternative to the conventional car loan, here at home in Malaysia. At Flux, we are excited to pioneer a new means to access all the benefits of having a car in your driveway, without the costs. We are proud to challenge the conventions of car ownership, working collaboratively with the leading local automotive groups. Together, we offer you freedom of choice, at unparalleled convenience. In short, Flux is the simpler way to ‘own’ your perfect car,” added Aziz, who is the son of Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz. The former Bank Negara governor is the chairman of Flux.
What truly sets Flux apart is its range of available cars. Sourced from “reputable automotive groups and retailers”, we can see from the models available that the cars are from official brand dealerships, as opposed to grey market cars. Most of the cars appear to be nearly new, listed as 2018 or 2019, with the oldest model a W221 Mercedes-Benz S-Class from 2013 and a CLA 45 AMG from 2014.
There are plenty of current BMWs too – we see the G20 3 Series, G30 5 Series, 6 Series GT and X1 SUV, alongside the MINI Countryman and Clubman. Away from premium brands, you’ll find popular models such as the Honda Jazz/Toyota Yaris, Honda City/Toyota Vios, Honda HR-V, Honda CR-V/Nissan X-Trail and plush Toyotas such as the Camry and Harrier. From Naza’s stable, there’s the Kia Picanto and Sportage, and Peugeot 2008 and 3008. You have visitors? The Toyota Innova and Fortuner might help.
As with mainline car subscription schemes, Flux promises hassle free driving. Their concierge service will take care of all car-related administrative and maintenance matters. This includes yearly document renewals (road tax, insurance) alongside planning and execution of scheduled service and repairs (inclusive of wear and tear items such as tyres). The concierge will collect and return the car when it’s time for servicing.
Ok, how much? Monthly prices range from RM814 for a Picanto to RM8,837 for a BMW 630i GT M Sport. When you’re browsing, bear in mind that the advertised prices are the lowest possible for the particular car (by the way, the car you see in each listing is the exact unit you’re getting), which means a three-year contract. For example, the Picanto costs RM895 per month on a two-year contract, RM1,040 on a 12-month deal and RM1,221 for a single month.
The longer the contract you sign up for, the better deal you get, obviously. Also, quoted fees are for the “Lite” package, which is capped at 1,250 km a month (that’s 15,000 km a year). For a higher cap of 2,000 km a month, the “Standard” package comes with a surcharge, which in the Picanto’s case is an additional RM90. All cars come with an “Unlimited” mileage option, and for the little Kia, you must top up RM537 a month for this. The add-on mileage surcharges vary according to model.
Flux says that for the three-year contract, the monthly fee is slightly lower than the monthly instalment one would pay in a typical five-year HP loan with a 10% downpayment. Here, there’s no downpayment, but a one month deposit that’s refundable. To pay, just swipe your Malaysian-issued credit card.
Note that the length of contract is how long you intend to use Flux, and not how long you’re tied to a particular car. Members can switch cars (minimum block is one month) for a RM375 swap fee, and move to the lower/higher monthly rate for the new car. If you originally signed up for a three-year deal, you’ll get the three-year monthly price for the new car as well. There’s also a three-day risk free return scheme (150 km limit), in case you just can’t live with a particular choice or have changed your mind.
Lastly, security. All Flux cars are equipped with a telematics device to help recover the car and your belongings in case of theft. Should an accident happen, the car is fully insured and 24/7 nationwide roadside assistance will be rendered. Flux is open to both Malaysians and expats (international driving licences accepted), as long as he/she has a Malaysian-issued credit card, mobile contact number and is above 25 years old.