Next destination: What happens to your car when the lease is up.

Alphabet fleet in front of a building

Picture this. You receive a company car and it’s your faithful companion for 48 months. Chauffeuring you to appointments, protecting you from sun, rain and snow, carrying your belongings from A to B. Then one day, it’s time to part. The lease is up – marking the end of your time together.

While slightly exaggerated, saying goodbye to a car – and gearing up for a new one – is a reality for thousands of company car drivers. But what happens to these cars when their sojourn in a company fleet is over? Let’s have a look, step by step.

Step 1: Leasing contract expires

Time to gather any personal belongings you’ve been toting around and say any parting words. Last chance at a photo op! If you can’t imagine life without your dear car, check with Alphabet if there is an option to purchase the vehicle.

Step 2: Returning the car

If you decide not to buy your leased car, it’s time to give it back forever. Depending on local practices, customer preferences and contract provisions, there are various possible ways to do so. It could simply be left on a so-called compound where a lorry will pick it up, or an Alphabet representative might stop by your company to collect it personally. In the case of the latter, your old car could be directly exchanged for a shiny new car. What are compounds exactly? Temporary storage lots for used cars before they find a new owner.

Step 3: Conducting the inspection

Next, the condition of your car is thoroughly evaluated and logged during an inspection. Typically you and the person collecting complete this step together, and compile written and visual documentation. Things to look for: Are the accessories and equipment in place? Do you have your spare key with you? Is there any damage? How many kilometres/miles are on the odometer? Don’t be surprised if the collector starts snapping pics: visual documentation is required for any damage and to capture key traits of the vehicle. This information is very useful later when it’s time to resell and when it will be decided if your former sidekick is attractive for consumers or business customers, e.g. professional used car traders!

Step 4: Appraising the value

Based e.g. on the information collected during the inspection, complete and transparent service history, market information and professional experience a minimum resale price will be suggested.

Alphabet International, vehicles in a row

Step 5a: Buy me, consumers!

If your car is in very good condition, it’s probably destined for resale to consumers. In this case, it might be showcased in a local used car centre, depending on your country’s practices. Outlets are a second location where your old car could make an appearance. People can simply stop by to check out the current selection, which changes regularly. For the latter, it’s advisable to refer first to the websites for a look at what’s for sale, then just go there or make a personal appointment to see the car in person. A piece of advice: if you or someone you know is looking for a used passenger or light commercial vehicle, visit your Alphabet country website to see what is available in your country and where.

Step 5b: Buy me, traders!

In many countries, a majority of the vehicles, especially models that have logged many years on the road and have some visible damage, are handed off to professional traders who take over the resale process. These cars are sold as-is – along with any dings and dents – though each vehicle is inspected and appraised by an independent expert to ensure it’s overall well described. Generally speaking, repairs are only carried out on vehicles that will be sold to consumers: newer models with fewer kilometres and little or no damage and vehicles in high demand.

Professional traders can find the selection of cars on the Alphabet Used Cars online sales platform. After registering on the respective local websites, they can comfortably browse the cars on offer and conveniently purchase vehicles in online auctions.

What do you typically do at the end of a lease? Purchase your car (if there is an option) or hand it over?

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