– By David Brown –
Luxury vehicle manufacturers are selling a quality product at a price. To help get fleet and novated lease buyers over the line in making a purchase, they offer corporate programs targeted at certain professions and organisations and companies that are purchasing multiple fleet vehicles.
Over the years various enticements have been tried, aimed at reducing costs or providing services that make you feel special.
Mercedes Benz Australia were very helpful with information including the results of a survey of their customers’ perceived benefits of their corporate program as it was in 2014 in the table below.
Clearly the benefits that directly reduce the ‘Whole of life ownership outgoings’ (i.e. cost of ownership), are the ones that are valued the most, with reduced servicing costs being at number one.
This was the thinking behind Hyundai’s Genesis offer of free servicing for five years which is provided on all purchases as they do not have an official corporate program. Fleet Auto News was at the launch of the Genesis in Australia in 2014 and we were told that while buyers of luxury vehicles accepted that they would pay a price premium, they often felt stung when they were faced with very high service costs.
While some manufactures do not release the details of their sales breakdowns, Mercedes noted that so far in 2017, approximately 1 in 4 vehicle purchases are under their Corporate Program/Fleet Program. BMW did say that user-chooser (novated) type purchasers make up the vast majority of their fleet clients.
You have to look closely at the qualifications on the benefits. They usually only last for a fixed period and may not apply in part of in full, to all vehicles in their fleet.
A summary of what the various company offer, at the time of writing, is as follows (note you should confirm the exact benefits that apply to any vehicle you are looking at purchasing):
The kilometre allowance is reduced for some performance models.
Note: Complimentary scheduled servicing expires at 3 years or 60,000km from the date of first registration, whichever occurs first.
Pick-up and drop-off, or loan vehicle features, only available during the period of complimentary servicing offer.
Free pick-up and drop off of your vehicle for servicing in your city’s CBD (to a maximum of 20km radius from the servicing dealer) for the duration of the Audi Corporate Program.
BMW Corporate benefits extended to your spouse
Access to your own Corporate Sales Consultant.
Available at authorised participating Mercedes-Benz dealerships only.
AudiCare A+ for the duration of the new car warranty
Lexus exclusive events
** Jaguar/Land Rover are about to review their package and Fleet Auto News will keep you informed when information becomes available.
Company web sites will have some general information but any web link that says it is a “Brochure” is unlikely to give you more than the general benefits and some marketing words. But it is worth finding out just what each benefit provides. A good example is roadside assistance. Is it a glorified towing service or are there an extensive range of benefits? This is also good to remember if you purchase a car.
Another way to get some idea on how customers are reacting, is to look for “Corporate Program car forums” in your search engine, but remember these are almost always initiated by a complaint but then again, they can be useful when other customers reply to the original posts and tell of the positive way they managed to fix a problem. They can also give you an idea of what to keep in mind when negotiating a deal.
In summary, no matter what your business situation it is worth asking if you could have a corporate program.
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