The ads run the seductive claim that “following your heart has never seemed so rational”.
That rationale comes from Bentley Motors in the form of a finance commercial for its Continental Flying Spur saloon.
Achieving “selective, strategic visibility and a competitive position” is the aim, says Andy Watt, Bentley’s European director of marketing and communications.
As a funding proposition for the £115,000 model, Watt emphasises that the monthly cost of leasing the plutocratic saloon is no more than that of “a good meal ahead of leasing a top-line BMW 7-series model”.
Watt says the advert sends a message to existing or potential customers who might have the money but don’t want to sign a very big cheque. “It shows that it is not that expensive for that step up and the figures involved in running a Bentley are not as steep as many thought,” he says.
Everything is relative and on the basis of an 8.9% APR the total over three years is £134,419.75, including the optional £58,060 final payment to take ownership.
But Bentley Financial Services, run by general manager Barrie Hyde, believes that many clients will use the scheme as a rolling programme to continue running Bentleys, underpinned by strong residual values. Continental GT for example CAP RVs at three years/ 60,000 miles are, at 48%, on par with Ferrari’s F430 but behind Aston Martin’s DB9 (51%).
Out of the overall 40% share of Bentley customers opting for finance, Watt reports that 70% of Flying Spur customers have used BFS’s lease purchase scheme.
Bentley executives avoid the vulgar “captive” term, but 80% of funding done through the 22-outlet network comes from BFS, split 70/30% between lease purchase and HP. Each retailer has a finance ‘consultant’. Bentley’s radar is locked on to top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar or Audi conquests who are halfway through three-year lease deals.
Watt says: “There must be thousands of potential Flying Spur candidates tied into deals, who are not yet available to us.
“We will talk to them when they are ready, using our finance as a major piece of logic.”