Personal leasing plans created by car companies to boost retail sales have been slammed for being confusing, misleading and short-term by industry sources.
Malcolm Hill, managing director at Volkswagen Financial Services, a subsidiary of the German car manufacturer, has broken ranks to condemn the schemes launched by rivals Ford, Peugeot, Vauxhall and other manufacturers. He alleges the schemes could undermine the existing personal finance schemes used by an increasing number of people to buy cars.
The Ford scheme, Acumen, was launched in June with a 5m campaign (MW May 26). Peugeot’s Fusion scheme and Vauxhall’s Evolutions have both come onto the market in the past ten days – in time for the new registrations on August 1. The launch of these leasing schemes has been triggered by changes in VAT legislation.
“We are just saying watch these schemes, they are not all they are cracked up to be,” says Hill. “Companies are rushing headlong into them and there is a danger that, because of a lack of training and inadequate information, consumers could be misled. It could damage the personal contract schemes manufacturers have spent millions developing.”
At the same time, Hill does not rule out a Volkswagen leasing scheme in future.
Ford Credit marketing director George Wood dismisses Hill’s comments. “Acumen is not a hard-sell scheme. It does not appeal to everybody and ultimately it is the customer’s choice. That is what Hill seems to forget – he is under-estimating the retail buyer.”