Leasing offers adapt to inflation and rising interest rates

Even a market in sustained growth, driven by the electrification of the vehicle fleet, cannot completely free itself from a movement as strong as that experienced in recent months. interest rates: since July 2022, the refinancing rate of the European Central Bank (ECB) has increased from zero to 4.5%, an unprecedented jump in the history of the euro zone. This tightening of monetary policy, which aims to curb inflation, has disrupted many markets, particularly real estate, and called into question certain economic models. But not that of mobility specialists.

“The rise in rates and inflation have had an impact, even if in long-term rental it is less significant, because the trade-in value, which is recovered at the end of the contract, reduces the amount to be financed”explains François-Xavier Castille, deputy general director of Arval.

This trade-in value – or residual value – corresponds to the estimate of the resale value of the vehicle at the end of the long-term rental contract. If it is equivalent to 30% of the list price of the vehicle, the rent will therefore be calculated on the basis of 70% of this price.

Fleets growing steadily

For rental companies and their customers, the rise in rates has therefore increased the importance of this residual value of vehicles in the construction of commercial offers. However, this value is, for the moment, supported by the electrification of fleets and by the resounding health of the second-hand market. “The demand is such that some, who may not have the means to afford a new vehicle, will opt for second-hand, explains Stéphane Priami, general manager of Crédit agricole Consumer Finance. Especially since we are now doing long-term rental (LLD) on used vehicles, which was not the case before. »

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The effect of the rise in rates on rents has, moreover, combined over the months with the general acceleration of inflation, which spares neither the prices of vehicles nor those of ancillary services, insurance in particular. head. In total, specifies Mr. Castille, the increase in rents has reached 20% to 30% over the last two years, which has resulted in a decline in demand from small businesses, professionals and individuals, but not in that of corporate fleets, whose growth remains stable compared to previous years.

Same observation at Crédit agricole Consumer Finance. “We have been able, in a very transparent manner, to p on the increase in refinancing costs to rents and, for the moment, we are not encountering any major problems”explains Mr. Priami. “For fleet managers, this increases the cost a little, but it is marginal compared to the increase in charges linked to inflation, such as electricity or heating. And they remain clear winners in terms of overall cost of use. »

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