In the car market, bargain hunters can hardly save themselves from offers. Buying a new car is currently not an easy decision. Car dealers come up with some ideas to convince private customers with unrivaled credit for the new car. More commentary at

Around 75 percent of all new car registrations in Germany are made possible via leasing and financing models. This emerges from the new automotive bank study 2016 of the working group Vec bank  and the market research institute Puls among 1400 car buyers.

No wonder that many drivers buy a new car on loan or by leasing. While brand traders often have access to group-owned financial institutions, free traders usually work with different banks.

Cash payments can not always be paid. Financing is therefore often useful. Basically, consumers can choose between three options for auto financing: installment credit, three-way financing or leasing. But not every model is tailored to the individual desire of car buyers.

Leasing especially interesting for companies

Leasing especially interesting for companies

“Which variant pays off depends primarily on your own wishes,” says Ben Cuso of Stiftung Warentest in Berlin. The consumer organization regularly compares the offered conditions of the automobile banks. Leasing is especially interesting for companies because they benefit from tax advantages. For private buyers, the other two ways of financing are more interesting.

“The first question is always: Do I want to own the car in any case, or do I want to make that decision later,” explains Bextermöller. If the car is to pass into the possession of the buyer, an installment loan or a cash payment is necessary.


Anyone who is not sure whether he wants to keep the car at the end, worth the three-way financing. Because only part of the purchase price is financed here. “At the end of the term, the customer can decide whether to pay the – often high – final installment, continue to service the loan or return the car.”

So that no financial difficulties arise, it should first be calculated how much the car may cost including the monthly current expenses, advises the Stiftung Warentest. Many car dealers are less knowledgeable in credit counseling. It is therefore worthwhile to review the terms of the various financing models at your leisure.

The consumer advice centers can also provide advice here, advises Jens Günther of the consumer center Saxony.

Scratches become really expensive

Scratches become really expensive

In the past, vehicles were mainly leased by companies. In the meantime, many private individuals are using the leasing offer to get a new car for a small monthly charge.

Unlike traditional car purchases, these offers are equivalent to renting a new car over a set time. “In fact, the car buyer here does not finance the purchase price, but only the loss in value of the vehicle, ie the difference between the new price and future used car value,” says Marius Rechenbach from VB.

Unlike other forms of financing, the leasing customer is firmly bound to the concluded term. An early termination becomes expensive because the leasing company is entitled to the negotiated amount of money.

After the time agreed in the contract, the car is returned to the lender. Or the customer decides to completely take over the car at a predetermined residual value.

But beware, leasing often harbors unimaginable costs. Those who do not observe the given mileage limit, do not care for the car or cause one or the other scratches on the car itself can end up being expensive for it, warns the ADAC.

Some lenders are accommodating, others are not

Some lenders are accommodating, others are not

Often small scratches in the paint or a stain on the seat are the subject of discussion, says consumer protection expert Günther. If it is a normal wear and tear, the lender must cope with it. In case of excessive use, however, the customer must pay for the loss of value.

There are also unpleasant surprises when the mileage is higher than the contractually agreed mileage. Because to leave the car as soon as the agreed route has left, is certainly not a cost-saving alternative.

An installment loan is particularly suitable for those customers who know for sure when concluding the contract that they want to name the new car their property Marius Rechenbach, working group Vec bank (VB) display

Frequently, private customers reach deep into their pockets when passing miles. The ADAC estimates that for a mid-range vehicle an additional ten to 15 cents per kilometer will be due. Again, if you are informed in advance, it will be best to save.

Leasing companies often offer mileage packages that can be booked in addition to the agreed lease contract. But it does not always come to the expensive end. Some lenders usually also provide a goodwill, which may include, for example, several thousand kilometers, depending on the bank, Rechenbach.

Calculate the residual value as realistically as possible

Calculate the residual value as realistically as possible

Also the so-called residual value leasing carries dangers. Here, the leasing bank sells the car after the contract ends to a certain residual value usually to third parties, but sometimes also to the previous customers. If the bank does not achieve the desired price, some of the contracts require the previous user of the car to pay the difference.

The ADAC advises to calculate the residual value as realistically as possible. Otherwise, high costs threaten after the term.

In principle, experts warn against such contracts because the market value depends on factors that the customer can not influence. For example, the scrapping premium caused significant fluctuations in the market value of the new cars compared to leased vehicles for three years. Sometimes oversupply affects the price.

If the car had an accident during the leasing period, the lender can assert a value reduction even if the repair is carried out properly and professionally at the end of the contract, says Christian Janeczek of the Traffic Law Association of the German Bar Association (DAV). On the other hand one can assure oneself additionally, with some enterprises such an insurance is also part of the contract.

The consumer advice Saxons advises private individuals from a lease contract. The tax advantages that leasing offers promise would apply anyway only to traders. Usual financing would be more profitable for consumers, so financial expert Günther.

Pay attention to the fine print

Pay attention to the fine print

The classic financing model for car purchases remains the installment. In Germany alone, around 7.4 million new installment loan agreements were concluded in 2014, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

“An installment loan is particularly suitable for those customers who know for sure when concluding the contract that they want to name the new car their property,” says the bank expert from VB. Installment loans are available from the manufacturer’s car banks and also from manufacturer-independent banks. According to Stiftung Warentest, private buyers are best advised by car banks.

In the installment loan, the car buyer repays the loan for a fixed term after a down payment. In addition, the down payment amount and the vehicle price determine the amount of the monthly rate. “With installment credit, the monthly rate is generally much higher than, for example, with leasing or three-way financing,” says Rechenbach. The ADAC advises that it will run for three to five years. The financing should not take longer.

Insurance can increase the cost of credit by three times

Insurance can increase the cost of credit by three times

Nevertheless, the loan with installment is also cautioned. Because often close to the car buyers with the installment loan in fine print from an expensive residual debt insurance. With the policy, the buyer secures for deaths, illness or unemployment. This increases the credit costs almost threefold.

Frequently, however, the additional insurance is not necessary, says consumer protection expert Günther from Saxony. If you have alternative collateral, for example a life insurance, you do not need the expensive additional package.

That’s how easy the new car gets cheaper

In January, only 30.7 percent of new registrations went to private customers, much more so-called self-registrations. It’s all about cheaper prices for customers.

In addition, a look at the insurance conditions often provides information about which pre-existing conditions are excluded from the insurance. For many users, the conclusion of the insurance is then unnecessary. The Munich Automobile Club also advises against the signing of costs that amount to more than ten percent of the loan amount.

In addition, the consumer center warns against expensive processing fees. Although these are basically no longer permissible, they are levied by some banks in a new form, for example as an individual contribution. Similarly, additional contracts on debit cards, credit cards or other insurance are often unnecessary.

Final rate is really expensive

Final rate is really expensive

Whoever is still undecided when buying a car, whether he wants to rent the vehicle for a certain period of time or wants to buy it in the long term, should resort to three-way financing. The financing model “combines the advantages of leasing with the opportunity to acquire property and adapts flexibly to the various customer needs,” explains financial expert Rechenbach.

The flexibility is the big advantage for the customers, says the consumer protection expert. The prospective buyer initially pays a fixed number of low monthly installments. Also, the deposit amount can be made flexible.

The final installment, which should correspond to the time value of the vehicle with normal wear and tear at the end of the repayment term, only becomes expensive. According to VB, the monthly rate is almost 50 percent below that of traditional financing. The customer remains completely flexible in his decision. During the term, he can decide whether to pay the full amount and buy the car, whether to convert the balance into follow-up financing, or return the car to the dealer similar to the lease, if he has made an individual repurchase agreement with him.

Do not forget further costs

Do not forget further costs

The consumer organization Stiftung Warentest warns of high costs in the final installment. The three-way financing is only the most favorable form if, after the agreed term, the final amount can be paid in cash. With further financing, additional costs and interest rates may not be as low as before.

As a general rule, you should be realistic when calculating the monthly rate. In addition, it is not enough with the financing rate, because the running costs for the car such as insurance or maintenance must be paid. Who calculates about ten to 15 percent of his net income for a car finance, can certainly find a suitable model without taking over the same.