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800 dealers in Motability trade-in trial

Motability Operations is allowing 800 dealers to accept trade-ins from disabled customers leasing cars because it wants to remove a barrier to potential new business.

New Motability customers have to make an advance payment averaging around £600 for all but 250 of the 4,000 models/derivatives available in the lease scheme. 

Motability fears some business is lost because customers can’t make the payment.

Around 4,500 dealers provide cars on behalf of Motability, which pays them a fee for each vehicle provided and a standard service fee for maintaining the vehicle throughout the three-year lease. 

Trade-in trials started in September, but more dealers will start accepting part-exchanges by April. Motability said the priority is to build a significant volume of dealers, rather than to iron out potential problems.

Mike Betts, Motability Operations chief executive, said 80% of its new customers already owned a car. Offering a part-exchange service put Motability in line with other car-buying channels, and attracted more customers.

“Where dealers offer a trade-in, customers can both realise the value of their existing car to help meet the cost of an advance payment, and keep their old car until the new one is ready,” he said. “The specifics of the trade-in arrangement are down to the dealer and the customer.”

Motability said: “Makes and models so far are representative of the broader car market. Around a third of non-customers drive cars that are more than 10 years old, which means there is an additional environmental benefit in customers trading in for a more modern car.”

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