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The coronavirus outbreak and lockdown have impacted on every part of our lives, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty over where we stand — particularly when it comes to our finances.

Here, we look at how the coronavirus outbreak has affected the car leasing market.

Starting a car lease during the coronavirus outbreak

You can still apply for a car lease during the coronavirus outbreak. If you’re new to leasing, read through some of our guides and FAQs to see if leasing is right for you.

You can also use our site to compare car lease deals and find the right make and model for you.

Much of the application process can be done online too, including any finance checks and paperwork. When your finances have been approved, you just have to arrange delivery.

You can learn more in our guide to applying for a car lease.

Delivery of new cars may be delayed

Many car manufacturers closed at the start of lockdown and some have yet to return to full capacity. As such, recent orders for brand-new cars may be delayed as they work through a backlog.

Further to this, manufacturers and delivery services will be operating according to the Government’s Coronavirus safety guidelines so there may be delays as they work through the extra logistics.

Should you choose a factory-built car, factor this extra wait time into your plans. You’ll be kept up to date on your car’s progress.

There are plenty of lease cars available on Auto Trader

On Auto Trader, we list approximately 7,032 car lease deals from 12 selected partners – making us one of the UK’s leading leasing providers.

If you don’t want to wait for a new car to be built, look at cars listed as ‘in stock’. They’re ready to go when you are, so they’re a great option for those who aren’t confident using public transport at this time.

Social distancing when collecting a car

Lease providers are working hard to keep you and their employees, safe at this time. As such they are introducing social distancing and new health and safety measures when delivering a lease car.

These measures could include:

• Ensuring delivery drivers are equipped with PPE and anti-bacterial gel
• Making transactions contactless where possible
• Ensuring social distancing measure are met, e.g. conducting delivery outdoors

Please speak to your preferred car lease provider about the specific measures they are taking.

You can sell your old car with Auto Trader

You can still sell or part-exchange your vehicle on Auto Trader. We ask that those listing their current vehicle make sure they clean and disinfect it. Whilst there are no guarantees that this will remove all risks, it’s a sensible and respectful step to take.

If you can’t properly disinfect your car, consider delaying the sale until a time that you can. Similarly, you should delay any viewings or handovers if you are displaying the symptoms of coronavirus.

Learn more in our guide to buying and selling in lockdown.
Lexus RX L car lease

Amending a car lease contract during lockdown

Ask your lease provider about amending your mileage or contract.

If you won’t be driving as much for the foreseeable future, consider asking your lease provider about lowering your monthly mileage. It could save you some money.

Just remember what your new mileage limit is, as if you go over it, you’ll likely be charged on a pence-per-mile basis and that can get expensive quite quickly.

What to do if you’re worried about payments

We’d encourage anyone worried about finance payments to consult free, impartial sites like the Money Advice Service or Citizens Advice.

They should help you make an informed decision on the right way forward for you. Options could include:

• Requesting a payment holiday, if available
• Reviewing your annual mileage and adjusting the contract (and monthly payments) accordingly
• Swapping your lease car for a cheaper model
• Ending your lease contract early, if you are more than halfway through your lease contract and can afford the termination fee

Taking a three-month payment break

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) previously issued guidance on taking a three-month payment break. You can learn more about this on their site.

These temporary measures cover motor finance, and seek to assist leasers (or driver paying via car finance options like PCP) that are experiencing “temporary payment difficulties due to coronavirus” and still need use of their vehicle.
Audi Q7 car lease

Ending a car lease in coronavirus outbreak

If your car lease is due to end during the outbreak, then, in most cases, this will be able to go ahead with social distancing measures in place. The lease provider will contact you to arrange a collection date, so use this as an opportunity to ask any questions and voice any concerns.

For more on the final car checks you should make before you return the car, and the paperwork you’ll need on the day, see our guide to returning a lease car.

Some lease providers have been making extension offers available to their customers. With these, drivers have been able to extend their existing car lease for six to 12 months (usually at a discount), while others have arranged shorter extensions.

Again, speak your lease provider about the options available to you and make sure you read the fine print on any contract extensions or changes.

Arranging car lease collection when social distancing

As with delivering a lease car, there will be strict social distancing / health and safety measures in place when collecting the car.

You should consult the lease provider about the specific measures they’re taking.

If you are quarantining or at high risk and your lease contract is due to end soon, you may also consider an extension. This could be formal (for three months or more) or informal (for shorter periods).

Early termination

If you are no longer driving your lease car, you may be able to arrange an early termination. Early termination is at the discretion of the lease provider so ask them if it is available as an option.

Just be aware that there is likely to be a fee for doing this. Some contracts impose a 50% fee on any outstanding rental amount, while others calculate a figure on a case-by-case-basis using length of contract and mileage allowance as a basis.

In most cases, the fee is likely to be high so check the details and work out if it makes sense for you financially.

Terms and conditions of an early termination, where available, will be covered in your contract so check that for specific details. If you’re about to sign or considering a car lease, we urge you to check the small print of your contract before you commit.
If you're looking for a new lease car, find the latest car lease deals on Auto Trader.