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Ling’s lease offensive begins

Gateshead entrepreneur Ling Valentine is pitching her battle bus against the region’s franchised dealers in a bid to win custom for her business.

She has bought a £7,000 double-decker bus and invested another £7,000 equipping it with flat-screen TVs, DVD systems, computers and wireless internet connection to enable prospective customers to view her product offerings. She plans to visit supermarkets and public events to promote her contract leasing deals.

“It beats car dealers hands-down because my low overheads enable massive savings,” she says. “Which part of ‘you are too expensive’ don’t dealers understand?”

The cars are sourced through manufacturer and dealer contacts, or through major leasing organizations.

Valentine claims sales of £16m per year already, but wants to boost this to £25m by the end of the year.

She promotes LingsCars using wacky marketing techniques such as offering free Chinese noodles and Chairman Mao red books. She also has a disarmed Chinese missile truck parked in a field alongside the M62 at the Lancashire/Yorkshire border, branded to attract the attention of passing motorists.

All this has won her huge PR, with features in national magazines and newspapers.

“My business has never been better because people now understand how to liquidize their financial assets,” she says.

“Buying a car outright or borrowing the money makes no sense because cars depreciate in value. Why invest in something that decreases in value?”

“Renting means no depreciation, no loan and fixed-costs. People like a flat monthly rental, which includes road tax and delivery. The public also likes to compare my 100 different cars on a level playing field.

“Traditional dealers just don’t allow this; they like to keep everything confusing with loans, APRs, made-up offers and deals, which cannot be compared because these all disguise high profit margins.”

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