TWO ALTERNATIVES TO BUYING A NEW CAR
1 CAR LEASING How it works: You rent a car for at least one year. Pros: You don’t have to cough up a 50 per cent down payment, or pay for road tax, insurance and maintenance. A replacement car will be provided should you need one. At companies like Eurokars Leasing, there is also no mileage limit. Cons: If you terminate your lease prematurely, you’ll have to pay a penalty and maybe even the remaining balance of your contract.
In the long run, car leasing is more expensive than having your own car. For example, leasing a brand-new Mazda3 from Eurokars for a minimum two-year period will set you back $2,160 a month, which comes up to $51,840 – roughly half the cost of buying it. But for those unwilling or unable to come up with the 50 per cent down payment, leasing is a way to bide your time.
2 PEER- TO-PEER CAR SHARING How it works: A relatively new concept here, it involves renting a car from a vehicle owner. At iCarsclub, the prices – which vary according to the make and model, and include fuel charge and insurance – start from $45 a day. “We have a Chrysler that’s renting out for $80-$90 a day. That’s very cheap,” says management executive Clifford Teo, who adds that typical uses for these cars include church outings and taking elderly parents to hospital. Pros: You don’t have to pay road tax. Also, fuel use – pegged at 30 cents/km – is based on mileage, so you pay only for what you use. And it’s convenient. At iCarsclub, you can book a car with your smartphone and you’ll be sent an SMS, which you use to unlock the car at its parking location. Cons: The cars can only be rented from 7pm on Fridays to 7am on Mondays, so if you only need one for the family on weekends, this is an option to consider.