Maybe you’ve owned or leased a Mercedes before. Perhaps you already know the quality, luxury, prestige and performance associated with a brand that goes back to the first vehicles developed by Karl Benz in 1886. Or maybe, inspired by the racing success of Mercedes-Benz in Formula 1, you’ve decided to get in on the action. Whatever your reasons for considering a new Mercedes, car leasing (or van leasing) has never been a more accessible way to drive a new Mercedes…
In this article, we look at the basics of Mercedes-Benz van, car and light-commercial leasing (this isn’t the same as long- or short-term car hire). Read on for answers to seven often-asked questions about this increasingly popular way to drive anything from a B-Class Electric Drive to a top-of-the range AMG GT Coupe.
1. What‘s involved in Mercedes-Benz leasing?
Just in case you’re new to the exciting possibilities of vehicle leasing, here’s an introduction. Whether it’s a Mercedes CLA-Class, a Jaguar or any other car or light commercial (including the latest electric or PHEV hybrids), car leasing (also called contract hire) involves hiring a vehicle for an agreed period and agreed monthly payment.
Your lease period is typically between 24 and 60 months. Depending on the agreement, at the end of the contract you give the vehicle back to the lease company with no further payment, purchase it by paying a ‘balloon payment’ or set up another contract for a brand new car or van.
2. What are the main benefits?
Car and van leasing used to be restricted to the largest corporations. However, over the last decade or so, the benefits of business or personal contract hire for a single vehicle or a fleet have become much more accessible:
- You get a brand new car every couple of years.
- A fixed cost per month makes budgeting a snip.
- The initial outlay is a fraction of buying cars outright.
- Depreciation isn’t your problem.
- Road tax, servicing, maintenance and consumables can also be built into your bespoke contract-hire contract...
- Disposing of the car is simple when you change.
- Your contract may let you buy the car when it ends.
3. Business or private car leasing?
Will your new Mercedes be a company vehicle or a long-coveted private indulgence? Car leasing is divided into business and personal hire (personal car leasing). Business vehicle leasing is perfect for companies, partnerships or sole traders.
Personal car leasing is for anyone who wants a car for private use. It’s also a cost-effective option for company directors, or other employees who prefer not to join a company car scheme for tax reasons. Personal contract hire is also worth looking at if you get a car allowance or can claim mileage for business motoring.
Your personal tax position will be an important factor when choosing between private and business contract hire. Whether you are a sole trader or a VAT-registered company, ask your accountant or financial advisor for advice on what’s best for you.
4. How will personal contract hire work for me?
You’ve decided on a Mercedes and your excitement is growing. You’ve pored over brochures and websites, read reviews and have a good idea about models and trim levels. The fact that you’re reading this probably also means that you’re considering leasing.
Next, you should talk to an experienced, reputable car leasing specialist. Look for a combination of big-company expertise and smaller-company service. A regional; leasing company franchise that’s been leasing Mercedes vehicles for decades will have a hard-won reputation to protect, great contacts, access to the best deals and be committed to looking after you. After all, you’re unlikely to be around after several decades if you’re not good at what you do.
Your chosen specialist ‘broker’ will help you choose between business or personal hire, and contract hire and contract purchase, so you get the best contract for your circumstances.
Now comes the fun of choosing your vehicle. Will it be the latest SLK or the super-comfortable E-Class saloon beloved of executive chauffeurs across the UK? Then there’s credit to arrange, an order to place and delivery. Throughout the process, a reputable car leasing firm will give you clear, objective advice, explain your options and make you feel very special. Setting up your leasing agreement needn’t be (shouldn’t be) stressful; the secret’s in your wise choice of leasing company franchisee.
5. Are there any disadvantages?
Despite growing popularity, contract-hire isn’t for everyone. A reputable car leasing specialist will tell you about the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. Here are the factors which sometimes dissuade people from leasing:
- You don’t own the vehicle.
- If you underestimate your mileage, you’ll face an excess mileage adjustment bill at the end of your contract period.
- If you have to terminate the contract early it can be costly.
- If the car or light commercial doesn’t meet the lease company’s fair wear and tear policy when the contract ends, you are likely to have to pay extra before your responsibility for the vehicle ends.
6. I’m interested! How do I get my new Mercedes-Benz?
We can’t overstate the importance of your contract-hire partner to as a key to achieving worry-free car leasing deals. This is especially so if you’re an individual or run a small business fleet. That’s because, simply by the nature of their businesses and their focus on large fleet orders, big leasing companies won’t have time to do much more than raise a quote for you and accept an order.
Compare that to the service that a smaller specialist firm can provide. As a general rule, a successful, regionally-based leasing company franchisee will have built their business on bespoke service and attention to customers leasing a single vehicle or a fleet of up to 20 or 25 vehicles.
As well as being able to hold your hand all the way through the selection, ordering and handover of your new Mercedes, they’ll be accessible and keen to help during the course of your contract. It makes sense, because they want you to lease another vehicle through them in two, three or four years’ time.
7. How do I find a contract-hire partner I can trust?
So how do you find this gem among the mass of leasing partners you’ll find online? Here are a few tips:
- Do your research thoroughly
- Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.
- Shortlist a couple of regional companies
- Look for a successful track-record; a few decades in this competitive business and a family background are good signs.
- Talk to a couple of firms. Do they really care about you?
- Listen to your intuition: it’s a powerful inbuilt tool.
This initial due diligence is worth the effort. As well as your new Mercedes, this could be the start of a long-standing relationship. Ask your prospective partner to tell you about the clients who keep coming back for a new car or van every few years. That sort of continuity speaks volumes…
Mercedes-Benz leasing is easy
Like your choice of car or light commercial, or the garage where it’s serviced, the difference between the best leasing specialists and the others is considerable. It really can make the difference between a great motoring experience and years of disappointment...
Car leasing, though seeming complicated to the uninitiated, needn’t be. The difference is in the support that a reputable leasing company franchisee provides. Whether you’re in Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, elsewhere across the West Midlands or somewhere else in the UK a good one holds the key to years of enjoyable, cost-effective business or private Mercedes motoring.
About West Midland Vehicles
West Midland Vehicles Ltd (trading as Westmid) was formed in 1980 and is based near Birmingham in the heart of England. We’re a second-generation family business specialising in business and personal Mercedes-Benz car, van and light commercial vehicle leasing.
Ask our existing customers how much store we put in knowledge and professionalism – and the pride we take in offering a bespoke service and knowing about the Mercedes-Benz offers that can save you lots of money.
Whether you’re seeking a company fleet or a single private car, our knowledge, experience and exceptional customer care is here for you. Remember to ask us about the Finance Lease Funding Scheme too – it’s a fabulous way of funding your dream vehicle.
West Midland Vehicles Ltd
Westmid House, Stourbridge Road, Halesowen,
West Midlands B63 3TT
T: 0121 550 1400