Europcar has begun competing with franchised dealers by offering consumers the chance to get a 69-plate car in September without the traditional long-term financial commitment.
It is promoting its Long Term Flex service as a “no strings attached” answer to running a new car.
As a ‘usership’ solution, consumers pay a £150 administration fee plus their fixed monthly payments and can return the car with no penalties after three months, providing they give the company one month’s notice.
But consumers are unable to specify any extras on the car they’ll choose to drive, and must select from a small selection of brands – seven at present.
Gary Smith, managing director, Europcar Mobility Group UK, said: “New cars feature the latest motoring technology, along with delivering the best fuel efficiency and lowest emissions, making them economical to run and good for the environment. But with lengthy tie-in’s and often early exit costs and huge final payments, car finance plans – which for many are the only way to access a new car - can be off-putting. Indeed many drivers admit they don’t fully understand exactly what they’re signing up to anyway.”
Research commissioned by Europcar Mobility Group earlier this year2 found that only 53% of the drivers who have previously used car finance admitted to fully understanding the terms and conditions of the deal they signed.
Like with PCP and PCH contracts, Europcar's Long Term Flex product will charge users for exceeding the agreed mileage and for any damage that falls outside the BVRLA's fair wear and tear guidelines.