Our Essex-based leasing customer kindly sent some pictures of their brand-new luxury SUV – the Audi Q7. The move toward 7-seat luxury SUVs has seen a marked downturn in the need for MPV and people-carrying type vehicles. Traditionally, a family would have a Ford Galaxy/Seat Alhambra/Chrysler Voyager type vehicle to move their bigger families around; for two adults with 4 kids (and more) many vehicles just were not suitable for their needs.
When insurance and fuel was a little cheaper, running a family fleet was more realistic as you could have a number of vehicles which were suitable your needs and requirements; a car to move everyone around, a sports car for weekends and a small car for running around town. As the pressure on parking spaces (and lack of drives) increases, coupled with growing insurance and fuel costs, even the less modest of family needs to keep a careful eye on their budgets. Of course, the last 5 years has seen a surge towards the SUV type of vehicle; higher driving position, enhanced technology, 4WD functionality and much improved aesthetics.
It is now the primary battleground for all manufacturers, budget to luxury, as they try to control all of the SUV/crossover/4×4 options available. The “7 seater” class of car is no different and many manufacturers have been quick to have this an option on their bigger vehicles; families want the SUV which provides all the benefits noted above but which can carry 5-7 passengers practically. It is no surprise this is now a very much desired car to have and even with the growth of alternative fuels in the form of hybrid/PHEV/electric, this isn’t going to deter customer habits.
So should I lease or buy my next car?
The argument for ownership vs usership is not a new one, nor can it be settled in a one-shot blog. The truth is that there is no right answer and there is no one particular finance/procurement method for a vehicle which is essentially “the best”. Whether you hire, flexi-lease, subscribe, contact hire, PCP, finance lease, hire purchase, contract purchase or lease purchase, you are probably utilising a product which you feel is best suited to your needs and requirements (or that of your business). When you start your search for a new, or used car, the most important step is to educate yourself on the options available to you; laziness is the enemy of the customer and often cases of “mis selling” are indeed avoidable consequences. If you spend the right amount of time to understand the facilities available, you will quickly reach some basic conclusions.
The move to contract hire (or leasing as it is often referred) is a reflection of customer attitudes to ownership. The truth is that many people no longer have this necessity to own everything, in particular for those goods which are depreciating. Cars, and vans, do not make you money and from the moment a new car is leased/purchased it will lose a significant proportion for its value (unless you are buying a unique or high value vehicle). When it comes to a new car, you have to consider whether you want it for a shorter period of time (2/3 years) or if this is a long-term proposition (i.e. 5 years plus).
Straight away you will be able to make some firm conclusions in that a longer-term product will lend itself to a purchase-style PCP or HP whereas a customer wanting very short-term or less than 3 years will find themselves in a hire-based product like contract hire or flexi-lease. You also have to consider other factors like company car tax, attitudes to risk/reward, frequency of changing a car and time-constraints. The onset of PHEV and EV type cars is only going to add further consideration to the buy v lease debate – are EVs going to hold their value? Will there be a insatiable demand for electric cars in the used-car markets? Will you realistically enjoy the drive of an EV?
The conclusion is that you need to consider all the facts – don’t rush into a car/product because the monthly rental or price is cheaper. If you are looking at the long-term you need to ensure that everything is suitable for you as nearly all of the products are a fixed contracts which can only be terminated with penalties.
In terms of the car shown, the Audi Q7 DIESEL ESTATE 45 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr Tiptronic [Auto], this is based on the following configuration:
- Glacier white metallic paint
- Twin Leather – Black
- Silver grey diamond finish upper inlay with anthracite lower inlay
- 19″ 5 star spoke alloy wheels
As standard the car includes acoustic windscreen, rain and light sensors, EDL, Audi parking system plus, hill descent control, front/rear floor mats, Audi connect, Audi smartphone interface, mobile phone preparation, hill hold assist, power tailgate, 8.3” central display, Audi virtual cockpit, MMI navigation, auto dimming rear view mirror, electric/heated/folding door mirrors, DAB radio, body coloured external, headlight washers, LED daytime running lights, heated front seats, interior light pack, 35/30 split 2nd row seats, electric 3rd row seats, keyless go, immobiliser and anti-theft alarm. In terms of additional options to add at factory you might want to consider – privacy glass, 20” alloys and the electric panoramic roof. Alternatively, upgrade to the S Line or the Black Edition for the aggressive sportier styling.
On the technical-side company car and business users can note the P11d at £53,485.00 and CO2 at 178g/km for a standard vehicle. The 2967CC 8 speed diesel engine delivers 41.5 combined MPG (EC), 32.1 (WLTP), 231ps and 0-62 times of 7.3 seconds. Service intervals are set at every 12 months or 9,000 miles whichever lands sooner.
So would you select the Q7 as your next leasing option? Or would the Range Rover Sport (7 seat), BMW X5 (7seat) or Mercedes GLE (7 seat) be your preference?