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How to avoid falling residual values ​​when leasing

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Lease returns
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D he decreasing residual values ​​in vehicles are causing enormous problems for the automotive industry, because in times of economic crisis prices drop more than expected. This has a particularly severe impact on leasing, which is why retailers are now sounding the alarm. More and more often, the car dealerships have to accept losses in the marketing of leasing returns, since the market and residual value of the vehicles at the end of the contract no longer match.

Vehicle fleet business 2009 with a loss of 1.5 billion euros

The consequence is high depreciation, which is increasing in 40 percent of the companies could lead to a negative result - with ten percent even threatening bankruptcy. This was the result of a survey by TNS Emnid on behalf of Lease Trend. But it is not just retailers who bear this burden, as Michael Velte, Chairman of the Association of Brand-Independent Fleet Management Companies, explains: 'In Germany, the loss from the fleet business in 2009 alone from low sales will add up to 1.5 billion euros.' Because at the beginning of the contract, a vehicle estimate is carried out, which should reflect the value of the used car at the end of the lease. No one can predict whether this assessment is realistic, as the unexpected economic crisis proves: the reluctance to buy, the overproduction, the discount war fueled by it and the scrapping bonus, which above all is the sale of Kleinwagen have turned the new car business on its head.

Almost 90 percent of the companies demand an adjustment of the residual values ​​

As a study by the Eurotax-Schwacke market observers on the development of residual values ​​shows, the losses are from the Middle class strongest. Especially the upper class is losing substance, from 2008 to 2009 a decrease of almost 20 percent was recorded. The trade now expects support from the manufacturers. Almost 90 percent of the companies, according to the TNS Emnid survey, require an adjustment of the residual values. Otherwise it is with a risingAlmost all of the car dealerships surveyed stated that the number of bankruptcies would be expected in the near future (97 percent). Many dealers even recently threatened to cut back the leasing business. Apparently, this message has reached the vehicle manufacturers. After all, this type of financing represents a supporting pillar of sales for customers due to the favorable conditions.

Audi, BMW and VW are working hard on solutions

Since November, the manufacturer has borne the difference between the residual value and the actual market value. Previously, there was a reimbursement of a maximum of seven percent of the new car price in the event of a higher loss of value. Audi is now planning to introduce this regulation. The idea is to give the dealers compensation of up to eight percent of the list price for the leasing returns. Also at BMW and Volkswagen is currently working hard on solutions. Even customers can influence the residual value trend with their decision. Not only the model or the engine play a role, the special equipment is also important. 'Appropriately equipped vehicles can be sold much faster than those that are missing important extras or have even been ordered that are harmful to sales - for example exotic color combinations or a luxury car without automatic transmission', says Eurotax-Schwacke managing director Michael Bergmann.

Navigation device and xenon light increase the chances of resale

Absolute prerequisites for maintaining the residual value are air conditioning, central locking, power steering, front electric windows, metallic paintwork and an electronic stability program. A trailer coupling or often also the auxiliary heater are more of a hindrance or not rewarded when selling. What counts in the freestyle in the smaller classes is already compulsory from the middle class upwards. These include an automatic transmission, leather upholstery, parking aid and cruise control. Cars with a navigation device and xenon light have even better chances of later reselling.

The residual values ​​could only rise slightly from mid-2010

With the right choice, customers can slow down market developments, but not stop them. To do this, the economic framework has to change. EurotaxSchwacke is expecting a further moderate decline and only slightly rising residual values ​​from the middle of the year.


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