Infiniti, the latest marque to arrive on UK shores, is developing a guaranteed buy-back scheme for fleets.
The scheme will set a guaranteed price at which Infiniti will buy the cars back at the end of their fleet lives.
This will relieve lease companies of the residual risk, which should allow them to offer more attractive contract hire rates to end-user fleets interested in Infiniti vehicles.
“We are very willing to enter into buy back with lease companies,” said Infiniti managing director Paul Atkinson.
“We are very confident about our residual values.”
The deal will ensure all Infiniti ex-fleet vehicles come back into the new marque’s growing dealer network.
“We want to keep all of the used vehicles within the network,” said Atkinson.
“We still think our RVs are underrated given our business model – they could be stronger and we are prepared to reflect that on buy backs.”
That business model is an order-build only, so there should never be excess new stock.
With guaranteed buy-back the company is attempting to ensure the used market is also covered.
However CAP’s Mark Norman was sceptical that the buy-back offer will work. “It has been tried before.
"Vauxhall, Rover and Daewoo have all tried similar schemes in the past but they tend to be mostly ignored by leasing companies because real world contract hire rarely matches ideal world conditions,” he said.
“For instance, in the real world cars can have accidents, miss the odd service by a few miles, go over contract mileage or period.
"For any scheme to be successful it will have to take these factors into account.”
Atkinson points out that Infiniti is still an “embryonic” brand looking to establish itself with fleet and get on user chooser lists.
The marque is expanding its range – there are currently five models available, comprising the G37 Saloon, Coupé and Convertible, the EX37 coupé crossover and the FX sports crossover. Later this year, a V6 diesel models join the line-up, while in the autumn a sixth range, the M Line sporting four-door saloon, arrives.
The residual values on Infiniti are respectable: the £30,470 base G37 3.7-litre petrol saloon for example will retain 29% of its value after three years and 60,000 miles, while the £32,610 BMW 335i SE retains 32%.