“The brand will take care, however, that you pay for your car.” With this forceful phrase, a good friend (worker in the automotive financial sector) sentenced the debate on the increase in the cost of vehicles and the drop in car purchases. We are on our way to paying for a car for a lifetime. And Sony and Honda seem to be thinking the same thing.
“A little expensive”. This is all that Yasuhide Mizuno, president and CEO of Sony Honda Mobility, specified when at CES he was asked about the price of the first electric and connected vehicle from Afeela, the company created by Sony and Honda to launch vehicles through a collaboration.
Not everything, exactly. To soften this message (already diffuse), Mizuno confirmed that the best option to access the car will be renting. “Replacing the car every three to five years is a very traditional methodology. Here’s the big change. This car is always being updated and therefore it will be able to last in customers’ hands for five to 10 years.”
But what? Allow me to raise my eyebrows when reading these words from Mizuno in Electrek and read what was written again. And, again, exclaim the words with which this paragraph began. Was Mizuno saying that it is “traditional” to change cars every three or four years? That the future of the connected and electric car is a 10-year lease?
That renting is gaining followers is something we already knew, but in Spain we change cars, on average, every 10 years. And taking a look at the average age of the European mobile fleet, the situation should not be very different. In France, Germany and Sweden the cars are, on average, 10 years old. In the Netherlands, eleven. In Italy, twelve… Until reaching 13.5 years in Spain and Portugal.
Yes, renting is gaining ground. The truth is that renting is beginning to gain ground in our country, which inevitably leads to a much higher turnover, with shorter usage times. Contracts that expire after three, four or five years. The average, pushed by flexible renting, has reduced the terms to an average of 46 months, according to the Spanish Renting Association.
Flexible financing has become popular, with a guaranteed value of the vehicle at the end of the contract. A formula that allows the customer to return the car, pay the remainder and take ownership of the vehicle or, finally, use the value of the vehicle as part of the payment in the next contract.
and it makes sense. Yes, the usual thing is that buying a car is cheaper than chaining rental contracts. But leasing is a simple way to access vehicles that are becoming more expensive every day and which also offers us some short-term security, since the fees are fixed. A perfect medium for those who “do not want scares”.
In a social and labor context where instability is commonplace, renting is an interesting formula for those who don’t know what could become of them in the short term. A means of payment that is less scary than a purchase contract with loans that we already find for nine years, very close to the age at which buyers start looking for a new car. If the car does not cause problems, it is a means of transport to amortize for two decades without problems. If it starts to suffer breakdowns, the owner is the one who must assume all the risks and that the bill at the end of the month goes up and up.
only for renting. The direct bet of a long-term rental for the future Afeela is not new. Toyota only offers its first electric car, the bZ4x, with this kind of formula and you can’t buy it. Renault has already made it clear that its range of Mobilize products (a firm dedicated exclusively to mobility) will not sell its cars either.
The industry is determined that its products last much longer on the market but, unlike until now, they are not ours at any time. During the presentation of the Mobilize Limo, Renault’s intention to have vehicles that they are always the owners of and that they put on the market over and over again, updating them, was already highlighted. Toyota and Renault’s bets on reconditioned vehicles are no coincidence.
a double reading. In the statement of the top leader of the company created by Tesla and Sony, another idea was left in the air: how long will a brand support its connected cars? The reason that Mizuno gave to be paying a car rental for 10 years is that it would always be updated.
Is this talking about two-rate updates? A rental car that gets updated frequently and an owned car that can only unlock large upgrade packs occasionally? Will these upgrades be so expensive that they will discourage consumers from owning the vehicle?
An idea difficult to fit. With some arguments for it and some against it, it’s hard to understand how Sony and Honda can fit a 10-year lease on their Afeela. With the duration of the leasing contracts falling, these companies announce a model that goes totally against it.
Even customers who chain contracts and a sum of 10 years tied to leasing, it is difficult to convince them at the beginning of the operation that this rental contract will extend for more than four or five years and that they will use the same car for a decade. The only incentive that can convince in this case is the promise that the connected car will be completely different, through updates to the one they committed to 10 years ago.
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