Without having a huge amount of cash lying around waiting to be spent on a car, it would be easy to think that there is no way for you to drive the latest cars around, and be stuck driving older models. Typically if you want a car, you buy it, then after 5 years you want a newer model car, but you’re stuck with a car you may struggle to sell for anywhere close to what you paid. This is without considering the amount you’ve spent on repairs & maintenance of the car.
Many people dismiss leasing a car as something best used for short term purposes, as a way to show off your car without spending thousands on a regular basis. Maybe once this was true, but over the last few years leasing a car on a long term basis has become more viable an option than ever before.
Rather than buying a car and then selling it 2-3 years later with a loss in value, known as the depreciation, car leasing is based on the principle that you rent the car from the lease operator and your payments cover the loss in value between leasing the car and returning the car, plus a small amount of profit to the car leases
Based on this, ordinarily you might pay £20000 and sell the car for £14000 3 years later, with a loss of £7500 plus maintenance & repair costs. Leasing a car means you would be paying the £8750 over 3 years, or £2916 a year spread out in monthly installments of less than £250.
The loss in value of a car over a period of time is much more important when looking at a 2-3 year time period, typically this value is worked out as; roughly 25% of the cars value is lost in the first year, 13% for the second, 7% in the third, it follows this pattern of half the previous years depreciation. So while over a longer period of time leasing a car may not work out to be cheaper due to the much lower depreciation, leasing a car is usually done over a 2-3 year period. Selling a new car this regularly would lead to huge amounts of money being lost with the higher depreciation, but with leasing a car the depreciation is what you pay for, rather than the cost of the car.
It is in the best interest of the car leasing operator to keep the value of the car as high as possible for the duration of the lease. This is because at the end of the leasing period the car is returned to them, after all it is still their property. Because of this most car leasing operators will offer free maintenance for the car, plus the new car warranty that will likely cover the new car you are leasing. This can potentially save a large amount of money compared to buying a car outright and being responsible for its maintenance, or possibly not being covered by a new car warranty.
In a lot of cases it is true that buying the car outright, over a longer period of time, would have cost the same amount or less than leasing. However this means that to buy the car you need to be able to either have a pile of cash sitting around waiting to be spent, or be willing to stay with the same model car for a much longer period of time than if you were leasing. If you wanted to replace your car every 2-3 years with a new model, leasing a car is undoubtedly a cheaper option.
Leasing a car is not a simple case of paying a fee and doing as you please while the leasing operator foots the bill. Generally there are usually stipulations in the contract that going over an agreed mileage will lead to additional costs, or that maintenance costs beyond the general wear and tear of a car will not be paid for by the car leasing operator. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, details like that are agreed upon before starting the contract. If you were to buy the car up front, you would have a harder time selling a car that has a huge mileage on the clock for as much as without. The same goes for paying repair costs that are down to carelessness. Leasing is no different in this respect, – taking care of the car you are leasing means it will cost you less money overall.