Two years ago, I gave in to necessity and leased a Ford Fiesta. For the prior year 2009, I had geared around using bicycle, train, and the occasional rental car. ‘Very green (okay, except for the 130,000 air miles, but that was business). But by 2010 the ramp-up of my UK startup meant meetings and pitches.
It meant a car.
I had to lower my sights from the sporty BMW / Peugeot coupes that I drove as a corporate expat (those were the days of unlimited miles with subsidized fuel) to something more praktisch. Wil and I tried a lot of different models before I decided on the blue Fiesta, then we negotiated the lease vs. buy, personal vs. business thickets.
In the end, the lease ran about 350 euro /month, all inclusive, for car, maintenance, roadside assistance, insurance, and vehicle/road taxes, It qualified for green tax credits and I got VAT returned; it sipped gas (initially). The only unanticipated problem was that it takes months to deliver of a car in the Netherlands, forcing me to rent for two months.
My 2 year/30K per year lease runs out July 1. I’m looking at another Fiesta. Maybe, at least, something sportier? -->
I actually like the car a lot. It has all of the cool media, voice, and backup sensor electronics, holds a surprising amount of cargo (but not a bicycle), and grips the road nicely in bad weather. One difficult blowout during a rainy night in Dover was swiftly and competently dealt with by LeasePlan.
So, I headed back to Jos Brogman to strike a deal on a replacement, this time allowing for two full months to delivery.
My old salesman had gone (He sells much nicer cars now, they assured me. Lovely: at least one of us moved up), but the new fellow seemed young and earnest. We got down to it.
The first offer for a lease was a third higher than the online offer, so now we got down to hard bargaining.
But the Dutch are ruthless negotiators.
The tax laws are changing June 1 so there is a rush on to get cars ahead of the deadline. A pitiful gambit: I’m not picky about colour.
I can give you a 16K euro car for 400 a month, or a 15K euro car for 410, he offered. Doesn’t that seem backward? Not if you consider residual value.
It turns itself off at stoplights to save fuel. That is not actually a reassuring feature.
I told him I’d go think about it and come back tomorrow. He told me it was his day off and we could talk Friday.
I hammered at the computer and he sent e- mails, as each of us countered with one final offer after another.
For three days we rocked the terms and options around until we both found a sweet spot. For him, it’s about X-options and Titanium packages. For me, it’s about swallowing pride and getting a fuel-efficient diesel.
For three years, this time.
Then the BMW. Or a really tricked-out Fiezta.