High costs of vehicles may lead to huge car ownership changes

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With constantly increasing prices, car leasing is becoming ever more popular as many people simply cannot afford to own a vehicle. With that in mind, Express.co.uk spoke to an expert to find out if Britons could be put off from learning how to drive and if it would have any impact on the UK’s car ownership structure.  

Tom Hixon, head of instructor support at Bill Plant Driving School, said: “Car leasing shouldn’t impact the driving lesson industry as people will still need their license for driving a leased car.

“However, if the costs of buying a vehicle remain high, it is possible that this will deter people from learning in the first place.

“You could argue that car leasing will benefit the learner industry as it offers a cheaper, short-term, and more flexible solution to the vehicle cost issue. 

“Many car leasing plans come with the option to replace or upgrade the car easily once the initial lease ends.”

Mr Hixon added: “Driving allows for personal freedom, therefore it is unlikely that Brits will stop wanting to learn to drive, however, the option of private vehicle ownership might vary from person to person depending on their circumstances.”

While Britons might be unlikely to stop driving altogether, there are concerns that they could be putting their money into vehicles that they will “never own”. 

Dorry Potter, an expert at National Scrap Car, told Express.co.uk: “People’s attitudes and buying habits are forever changing so it can be hard to predict the changes that will happen in a few years.

“Leasing has become increasingly popular in recent years but as with most things, leasing vs private ownership both have their pros and cons.

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“For younger generations, there may be more of a shift away from private ownership. With improved transport and the rise of hire car services such as Zip Car, there is less of a need to purchase cars.”

Ms Potter also stressed that not having a privately owned car gives drivers more flexibility and freedom to choose other methods of transportation that may be lower in carbon. This includes sharing cars, public transportation, walking and cycling. 

The expert added: “For those that rely on a car for work etc, leasing might be a better option for them rather than buying a car outright.

“A lease deal is essentially a long-term rental. Personal Contract Hire (PCH) is the main way of leasing a car, and this sees you pay a deposit followed by a series of monthly rental fees for an agreed amount of time.

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“This is typically two to four years, while you can vary the size of your deposit, with a larger down payment resulting in lower monthly outgoings.

“At the end of the lease period, you’ll hand the car back, with no contractual option to purchase the vehicle although there may be the option to purchase if you wish.

“Similar to the housing market, a lot of young people are now opting to rent rather than buy homes.

“The downside of this is that you are putting money towards a car that you may never own.

“If you are someone who likes to change their car more frequently then leasing a car may be a much better option as you will be able to get a new one every few years.”

Car ownership could also be set for a massive change with pay-as-you-go services.

Richard Falconer, Managing Director at Co Wheels Car Club, previously said that a pay-as-you-go model allowed drivers to enjoy vehicles “without the commitment of owning it”. Some experts also stressed that car subscriptions could be a big boost to electric car ownership.

Mr Falconer said: “Is a pay-as-you-go subscription the future of car rental? The answer is yes. The beauty of a pay-as-you-go subscription is that you can enjoy all the benefits and conveniences of a car without the commitment of owning it. You can book a vehicle wherever and whenever you want, for as long or as little as you like.”

He added: “A pay-as-you-go subscription is perfect for those people who tend to use public transport or bikes. When in need of a vehicle though, whether for a weekly shop or an outdoor trip, this subscription offers you the liberty to book a car at a time and place that best suits you.”

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