Why do European family cars have ridiculous names? The Kangoo? The Tepee? The Berlingo? Seriously? It’s not enough that you look like you are driving a bakery delivery truck? Oh wait, you are driving a bakery delivery truck. Oh well. I finally leased a car and that’s a huge check mark on my to do list!
You might be thinking, “But Laurie, why did you lease a bakery delivery truck. Couldn’t you have just rented one?” Good question. If you are a non-EU resident and plan to be in France for longer than 17 (or 21) days, it makes a lot of sense to lease a car instead of renting one. Why?
1. Less hassle and no hidden fees. Unless you really love standing in line at the rental car company and trying to figure out which “extra options” (hidden fees) you need and which ones you don’t. With leasing, the process is simple and the price is all-inclusive.
2. Better insurance, no deductible. With lease /buy back plans, the insurance is included in the price and there is no deductible. Most leasing companies also provide free 24hour road-side assistance.
3. It will probably be cheaper. If you need a car for 17-30 days, you might be able to find a cheaper rental– if your credit card covers some of the insurance costs and you only have one driver. But if you need a car for a month or longer, it will most likely be cheaper to lease. In either case, the longer you keep the car, the more reasons number 1-2 matter.
4. Pick-up and drop-off flexibility. Pick-up in one French city, drop-off in another. No extra fees.
5. You can return the car with no gas in the tank. (although to be fair, you will also receive the car with next to no gas in it.)
6. You get a brand new car!
Why this works
Sound too good to be true? I thought so, too. But it makes perfect sense when you consider that Europeans must pay a hefty Value Added Tax on new cars – Americans do not. So the leasing company lets Americans take temporary possession of the car – thereby making it cheaper and easier to sell a few months later (to a European or to a rental car company). Since it’s in their best interest to make sure nothing happens to the car, they offer great insurance coverage.
I should mention that the reasons above apply to all sorts of European cars, not just bakery delivery vehicles. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how and where to lease a car for France.