When you are seeking a leased vehicle, some companies will claim to be experts at everything. Range Rover Evoque? Easy! Mercedes SLK? Simple! Audi A5? No problem? But with too many, the expertise and service seems to end with a take-it-or-leave it car leasing quotation. Fortunately, if you choose your leasing company franchisee right, it needn’t be like that…
That’s just not good enough when you’re about to invest good money, your own or that of your business, in a piece of Audi heritage and all the style, design and performance that goes with it. As well as the pick of great lease deals, you deserve a completely different level of customer care, brand knowledge and proven expertise sourcing the best deals on anything from a single car to a fleet of executive saloons for a Coventry chauffeur business.
Here then are seven tests to see just how focused your shortlisted West Midlands contract-hire firm really is. Remember that the key to a great car leasing deal isn’t so much the knowledge that you accumulate, but the quality, experience and integrity of your chosen partner. Get the latter right and the whole process suddenly becomes straightforward and reassuring. And of course, you’ll soon be driving your chosen car away.
1. How long has your broker been arranging leasing
You may not remember back to the days of the original 2.2 litre Quattro when it was launched in late 1980, but it’s reassuring to know your broker was doing deals on Ingolstadt’s finest and building marque experience back then. Especially if they’re still knowledgeable about the German manufacturer’s vehicles today.
A newcomer to vehicle leasing may be able to quote a deal and should know about the latest range. But there’s something particularly reassuring about a contract hire specialist who’s been immersed in the product ranges of top brands for several decades.
2. Trust your first impressions
Just as your new car will make an important first impression about you, your first impression of your broker is so important. Do you feel like ‘just another punter’, or like a valued friend, a fellow marque enthusiast and someone to be cherished attentively?
3. Do they know car leasing inside out?
Brand knowledge is one thing. But without solid knowledge of the broader leasing scene, the power of such knowledge and connections is diminished. As you talk about your vehicle plans, you’ll quickly see whether your supplier has the depth and breadth of knowledge to guide you through the complexities of available leasing deals. From the special car leasing needs of VAT-registered businesses and the best month to set up a lease, to achieving optimum ride comfort or even knowing which hatchback will best suit your pet dog!
4. Are they genuinely knowledgeable about a marque?
This is where things get really interesting. It’s where years of brand exposure comes into its own and detailed knowledge of the current range and specifications shines. Take a typical mid-range saloon or example: do you choose SE trim level and up the spec with some factory-fitted extras? Or will your monthly leasing cost be lower if you opt for the next trim level, with all the extras you want and the bonus of higher residuals for the lease company at contract’s end? Why does that matter to you? It’s because the better residuals of a higher-spec vehicle can lower your monthly rental charge and enable you to lease a car you thought was too expensive.
Only an experienced broker with detailed marque knowledge will be able to advise you correctly on things like this.
5. Are they really interested in you?
Again, whether your broker is in Birmingham or Bristol, this is another thing that you should quickly pick up on. Some firms will only want to get a quote out to you. Indeed, some will admit that they ‘only do quotes’. Others will patiently talk you through the whole marque experience, discuss business and personal hire options and share your passion for the brand. And do you know what; they might even have the confidence to suggest that an Audi isn’t the right car for you – perhaps a BMW, Range Rover or Mercedes would be better. It may not be what you expected to hear, but a broker who’s really interested in you will always give best possible advice, even if it means ultimately looking to Munich, Wolfsburg or Solihull for your car instead of Ingolstadt.
6. Special leasing deals?
What’s your chosen partner’s status with the major leasing companies who ultimately provide finance for your car? Chances are that newer businesses to the market won’t have coveted Platinum Dealer status. Why’s that important? It comes down to the choice of vehicles they can offer you, and that may depend on whether they‘re allotted five or 10 of a particular model or have to go out to the market to source your preferred car. It says a lot about their standing in the industry that they get generous allocations. And it means you get more choice and availability. In short, it’s a good sign and another indicator that your shortlisted supplier is a serious player. Go on and ask them whether they have Platinum status and how many vehicles a given brand has specially allocated to them.
7. Integrity should be a given
Whether you’re in Kidderminster or Sheffield, throughout your dealings with prospective brokers, watch closely how they treat you. Assess their integrity too: do they talk straight, do what they promise and give honest advice, even if it’s not quite what you hoped to hear. Above all, is everything they say and do in your best interests rather than theirs? Of course they’re in business to make money on leasing, but your satisfaction should always be their priority.
You’ll know when you find a great leasing partner
When you start to feel like one of the family, you know you’ve found a gem of a vehicle leasing broker. With the ultimate leasing specialist, that feeling begins the minute you call them and say, ‘I’m thinking of leasing a new car.’
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 contract-hire for cars, vans and light commercials vehicles.
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 offers that can save you lots of money.
West Midland Vehicles Ltd
Westmid House, Stourbridge Road, Halesowen,
West Midlands B63 3TT
T: 0121 550 1400