Fleet News

Rover 75 buy-back deal unworkable, say lease firms

CONTRACT hire firms have condemned a new buy-back deal for the Rover 75 as 'unworkable' in many instances. The deal offers a residual value guarantee above current industry forecasts, but the contract hire industry claims that the conditions the manufacturer is attaching make it impossible to apply.

Rover has introduced the initiative following its dissatisfaction at low market predictions for the 75's residual values and is offering to buy back 75s at about 43% of their price new. In contrast, CAP Motor Research has forecast that the executive car will retain between 32% and 36% of its list price after three years and 60,000 miles, while Glass's Guide is forecasting between 33.7% and 36.4%. But leasing companies have described Rover's bullish move as an act of desperation that will complicate their relationships with customers.

Simon Richmond, director and general manager of ACL, said: 'The deal is so rigid. We have to include Rover's residual value prediction in our quotations as well as a maintenance figure, which it provides.' He said the buy-back offer would create a customer service 'nightmare' for contract hire companies because they would have to apply two different sets of end-of-contract wear and tear conditions for all 75 models.

Alan Hale, operations director at VELO, accepted the buy-back's rigorous wear and tear conditions, but said Rover's requirement that the 75 is serviced at a Rover franchise could create problems, particularly for non-maintenance contracts. But Andrew Mann, managing director of JCT 600 Contracts, applauded the buy-back offer. 'A customer should treat the car properly and therefore the wear and tear issues will not be a problem, particularly as they are getting the 75 at reduced rates because the RV is so much higher,' he said.

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