IT might not be the obvious area to expand at the moment, given the cost of living crisis, but Select Car Leasing says a renewed focus on the prestige and luxury sectors is beginning to pay dividends.

Vipul Davé joined the Reading-based leasing broker at year start  to head the new prestige, luxury and high performance car team devoted to providing access to the most desirable vehicles on the market.

Select says it’s working. The company reports a four-fold increase in high value vehicle orders since November 2021, plus a spike in new enquiries.

According to Vipul, the prestige market has evolved rapidly in the last six or seven years – and requires a different approach to normal client-broker relationships.

“Select offers a more dedicated and personal level of customer service than a customer would experience if they were to walk into a prestige main dealer.

“And, for me, it takes a special skill-set in a broker in order to manage these sorts of clients. The broker needs to feel comfortable in an environment where they’re transacting high value cars, while also exploring alternative funding options.

“The customer also comes to you extremely well-versed in the car because they’ve invested so much time in understanding it.

“It’s then the job of the team to open the eyes of the client as to the alternatives that exist in the marketplace because there isn’t really a bad prestige car – they all simply have a different appeal for different drivers.

“With so many models and spec levels, it can be pretty confusing for the consumer. The value in what we do is that we can refine that selection process down. We need to understand what the vehicle is really for: is it their main form of transport; or for occasional use? How many miles are they going to drive it? And it’s then our role to give the client the best possible experience on the road.” 

Vipul says the other changing aspect of the prestige market is the diversity of customers and the younger age.

“We’re seeing lots of people take out these sorts of aspirational leases much younger than they might have done in the past. You see people working in software and IT, for example, whose earnings rise rapidly and they enter into the high performance and prestige market at a young age. Ten years ago, you’d have to be in your 40s before you’d even have a look at these cars.”

Select’s prestige car categories

Super premium

Brands include Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Ferrari.

Premium prestige

From the volume OEMs, cars include the Audi RS6, the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-AMG range. 

Luxury SUV

A highly buoyant category, typified by the relaunched Range Rover Sport.

Importance of high-end EVs

Electric vehicles are playing a more dominant role in the prestige lease market, according to Select.

Vipul explains:

“There’s value to the customer in being eco-friendly and keeping an eye on their carbon footprint. It’s good to be seen driving an electric vehicle, but also good for business tax purposes.

“In the past, a company director might have driven a brand new Porsche 911. That same customer now may have evolved to the all-electric Porsche Taycan, with a current BIK rate of just 2%.”

Vipul says a key element of his job is liaising with customers over a number of years and seeing how their car journey progresses.

“I’m a real car enthusiast. So it’s all about sharing the visceral experience of driving these types of cars. And, for me, leasing a prestige car is a validation of a person’s success.

“I’ve enjoyed working with customers who’ve started by leasing a high performance Ford Focus RS, and then, over a 10 year period, moved to a Lamborghini Huracan. To see how the customer and their business evolves, and to be able to play a part in that journey, is incredible.”

The Vipul Davé CV 

Vipul Dave at desk

Vipul has 10 years’ experience working in vehicle rental and a further 14 years in supercar clubs and prestige dealerships

Before arriving at Select, he was global sales manager for an insurer-funded research organisation, providing research data around the repair, security and Euro NCAP testing to the automotive, repairer and insurance industry.

About the leasing broker industry he says:

Broker firms are now full of talented graduates as well as professionals who used to work in finance. These are educated, intelligent, sharp individuals – and it has to be that way to keep pace with what customers need. We’re now operating in a very different landscape, one that’s much more technical and complex. And we all have to up our game.

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