Car maker Skoda Auto is about to launch a new service on the Czech market– a long term operation leasing scheme for private individuals. At the outset the service will be targeted at well-off clients who are used to trading in their vehicle for a new model every few years and who do not want the bother of dealing with regular servicing and insurance.
Škoda Auto is looking to set a new trend that should change the way Czechs view their cars – as a service rather than private property. The car maker thinks the time may be ripe to introduce a service that is common elsewhere –long-term car leasing. The service, which is to be launched this month in cooperation with the leasing Service ŠkoFin is akin to that which Skoda has long provided to companies and its own employees - the possibility to rent one of its models long term with the option of a full-range to selected services. In time the client can trade it in for a new model or have the option of buying it.
The cost of the service will depend on the chosen model and the range of services selected. For instance the monthly cost of leasing a Skoda Rapid or a Yetti is expected to be around 5,000 crowns, while an Octavia Combi would cost just over 8,000 crowns a month.
At the outset the company is targeting the service at well-off clients who are used to trading in their cars every few years and will welcome the comfort of not having to deal with servicing as well as the possibility of trading in their model more frequently. It is counting on hundreds rather than thousands of clients at the outset with a view of expanding the service to the broader public –and making it more affordable to the masses in due time.
The car maker is aware of the fact that it will take time to sell the concept of car leasing to the general public. “The majority of people in this country still think of cars as private property and prefer to own their car rather than renting one out, it’s a question of psychology,” car sales expert Radovan Mužík told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes.
Škoda, which has launched the new service under the motto “No Worries”, is hoping to change this attitude and is emphasizing the benefits of driving a vehicle with few responsibilities attached as well as the fact that clients will not have to deal with the problems of selling their old car or having to pay to get it scrapped. The company eventually also aims to target people who do not have the money to buy a new car and would otherwise invest in a second-hand model, which requires a great deal more servicing and may have hidden defects. If the service proves successful, it would benefit not only the Škoda Auto company but the state of Czech roads which are rife with second-hand models that are on average 14 years old.