How finn.auto Built a Successful Car Subscription service with a Compact Team and Make
Innovation takes many different forms. In the car industry, it shows up in new electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and the shift of consumers to ride-hailing and car-sharing services. In this case study, we will go over the story of finn.auto, a Munich-based company known for their innovative car subscriptions, which are taking the auto industry by storm.
Finn.auto has been selling car subscriptions online since late 2019, joining Porsche Passport, Book by Cadillac and Care by Volvo in the select club of companies successfully doing so. Many well established automakers have been struggling to set foot on the car subscription business. Contrarily, finn.auto is rapidly growing and even managed to sell out of cars during the pandemic.
This raises two important questions:
How was finn.auto able to successfully enter the car subscription market?
How did it manage to go head-to-head with the big players in the space?
In the following section, we will take a closer look at the car subscription business, paying special attention to finn.auto’s recipe for success in this new vertical.
The finn business model
With a car subscription, the customer pays a fee to own a car for a specified period of time. Unlike leases, car subscription fees typically cover the costs and many inconveniences associated with owning a car, including:
Tire and oil changes
Cost of depreciation of the car
For the customer, only the fuel costs remain. The main selling points are flexibility, value for money, cost transparency and predictability. This is particularly attractive to families and to small and medium-sized businesses who understand the complications of owning a car and appreciate the convenience of a car subscription.
To be a competitive alternative to leasing, a car subscription must offer positive differentials in the tasks associated with car ownership, and become a more cost-efficient alternative to customers. A core requirement for a successful car subscription company is therefore a high level of automation.
The high level of automation required to be price competitive is a major challenge for most companies. At finn.auto, the entire business has been built around automation and it has always been one of the priorities. According to CEO and co-founder Max-Josef Meier, finn.auto has been able to automate 60% of all processes. That's an impressive number that most other companies simply can't match.
Automation at finn.auto
When the finn.auto team started the company, they were faced with the challenge of automating multiple sets of tasks, including:
Managing their fleet of vehicles
Contacting customers through various channels
Scheduling appointments for repairs, pickups, and deliveries
Managing contracts with customers and suppliers
The tasks were complex, countless, and diverse. For an IT department, this seemed an unmanageable workload.
Yet finn.auto knew it needed automation to succeed, and built the business with three powerful tools to make automation possible:
Airtable, a spreadsheet-like database for storing data
HubSpot, a platform including CRM used for customer interaction
Make, an automation tool
The utilization of Make to build and scale a business
Make is a powerful tool that enables the automation of complex processes across Hubspot, Airtable and many other apps. Unlike conventional methods, it does not rely on programming skills.
The decision to largely forgo conventional methods when there is a highly-capable team with programming skills on board seems counterintuitive, but implementing Make had many great benefits for finn.auto.
First, everyone in the company was able to use Make, automate processes, and understand each other's work. In smaller companies where people are confronted with tasks relating to different processes, this reduces coordination time to a minimum.
In addition, Make allows employees to easily gain a deeper understanding of relevant processes in the company, which in turn enables them to make better decisions by themselves, further reducing time spent on coordination with higher-ups.
To conclude, if a process is to be automated, it is no longer necessary to communicate the needs and requirements to an IT department before obtaining satisfactory results. Process experts can take over task automation themselves, saving valuable time for everyone.
This makes Make a great tool for scenarios where automation is a key need, processes are complex, and multiple people are involved.
For finn.auto, it was the perfect solution. It allowed individual team members to take full responsibility for process-related tasks and automation became a standard instead of a foggy future goal.
According to Mr. Meier, using Make resulted in a 17% increase in process efficiency and a 75% increase in time savings.
The implementation of Make at finn.auto was a success due to the platform’s functionality, but also because it was a great fit for the company.
For most processes, Make offers a straightforward and fast solution. To a certain extent, it is likely that most companies out there will find an application for Make right away.
In the case of finn.auto, Make is present in every department, empowering the company to offer a unique ecommerce experience.
This is a story of rapid success, and there might be a lesson or two in it for other nascent companies that wish to scale fast. Finn.auto came into the car subscription market, saw the complex automation requirements, implemented Make and conquered their market share in record time.
In the end, it’s all about providing a better experience, or as finn.auto’s CEO says: “There’s a car, it’s red, (I like it), I book it. And it takes less than five minutes to do that.”