Bargain of the day: £23,690 for a car you never own
Recently we had an email from avid Bitterwallet reader Richard. He claimed that the shiny new Nissan Leaf, wunderkind electric car a snip at just £23,490 (after deducting a Government contribution of £5,000) was actually a bit of a swizz. He claimed that, after giving Nissan over £23.5k you would still not own the car.
We have to admit, we thought he was, well, a couple of cans short of a six pack, but intrepid consumer investigators that we are, we looked into it anyway.
This is the Nissan finance example- with the just £239 a month deal explained in more detail on the next webpage. Here we learn that in addition to a £3,500 cash deposit and 36 monthly payments of £238.99 (a total of £12,103.64) you can make an ‘optional’ final payment of £11,585.93. This is, of course, the vital detail that Richard must have missed. The balloon payment at the end of the term that lets you buy the car, right?
Actually, no. You see the £239 is the new Nissan Finance Lease example and in their terms and conditions it clearly states that “ Once you have paid the final rental you can keep using the car by paying an annual rental of £60; if you choose Nissan Finance Lease you will never own the car.” BW emphasis.
So it seems Richard was right after all. You can pay Nissan £23,689.57 not to own a car that can go up to 109 miles between charges. Ever. Best hurry though, this offer is only available until 28 March.
Still, it could be worse- imagine if Nissan didn’t get a £5,000 bung from the Government, that handy up-to-25%-off-up-to-a-maximum-of-£5k that the Government gives people* who purchase specific electric cars, including the Nissan Leaf. Now, we looked through all the available information on this, and this £5,000 is only available to ‘motorists’ who ‘purchase’ one of the listed vehicles. As we have just illustrated, Nissan Finance Lease purchasers do not ever actually purchase a car, so how come Nissan are still pocketing £5,000?
So we asked them. They said that “the car is purchased by a leasing company. Therefore the leasing company … purchases the LEAF and provides it to the driver.” They say that this “arrangement is entirely conventional”. So we also asked the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (Olev) how come a scheme that was supposed to help people purchase an environmentally-friendly vehicle was actually being used by finance companies to purchase cars and charge people lots of money to rent on those cars for ever. Or does it not matter who is pocketing the cash so long as people are driving electric cars. Slowly.
Olev hasn’t got back to us just yet.
*Actually this cash never goes to the purchaser, it only ever goes to the car company. Hence why the list price of the car is almost always miraculously calculated to generate a maximum £5,000 bung.