The Motability Scheme gives people with a disability the chance to drive a brand new car with the amazing, all-inclusive Motability package where the cost of pretty much everything, with the notable exception of fuel, is included. Disabled people in the UK who receive an enhanced Mobility Allowance from the government can spend this extra money on whatever they feel will help them to stay active and get around, and currently more than 600,000 people choose to exchange it and lease a new Motability car. But should Motability customers simply accept the deal that’s on offer from the dealership, or is it possible to negotiate with the Motability Specialist to try and improve it?
When you join the Motability Scheme there's around 2000 different cars, crossovers, MPVs and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) to choose from supplied by over 30 vehicle manufacturers, so you'll probably need a little help to make sure you choose the right one.
Thankfully there's over 4,000 Motability dealerships in the UK that you can visit, and every showroom has at least one fully trained and accredited Motability specialist on hand to assist you, take you out on a test drive and give you all the advice you'll need to choose the right Motability vehicle for you and your family.
The overall lease cost of each vehicle is negotiated with car manufacturers every three months, with a big part of it roughly worked out based on the manufacturers recommended retail price (MRRP) and the estimated resale value (or the residual value) at the end of the lease term. So smaller, less expensive cars will sometimes cost less than the weekly Mobility Allowance (currently worth £71.00) while larger, more luxurious vehicles (which includes models from premium manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) will normally require all of the weekly Mobility Allowance plus an additional Advance Payment, which is paid upfront to the dealership at the beginning of the lease.
Put simply, the Advance Payment is the difference between the total of the Mobility Allowance payments (£71.00 every week) and the amount that Motability have estimated it will cost them to lease the vehicle to you for 3 years (or 5 years if it's a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).
Strictly speaking, the advertised weekly rentals and the Advance Payment prices shown for Motability vehicles are non-negotiable, but a small number of dealerships do choose to offer their own incentives and deals, including 'cashback' or an 'Advance Payment Contribution' to try and win extra customers and help with their new car registration targets.
If a dealer won't offer you a financial incentive there's no reason why you shouldn't ask your Motability Specialist if they would consider including any extras – anything from front and rear car mats, half a tank of fuel or perhaps paint and fabric protection – before you agree to sign on the dotted line and they get your Motability order.
In a recent What Car? article, the author Claire Evans advises that 'with dealers keen to make up for lost sales due to the coronavirus lockdown, it’s worth asking if they can offer any additional incentives for you to choose them for your lease' read more
Dealers may also have several qualifying vehicles held in stock (including cancelled orders) that they are keen to move on quickly, and they might be more willing to sweeten the deal if you agree to take one of these cars. If you are offered one of these stock vehicles it's important that you take it (or something very similar) out for a thorough test drive to make sure that it's comfortable to get into and out of, good to drive and that it suits all of your needs.
Motability Advance Payment prices are updated every three months (in January, April, July and October), so it’s worth making a note of the cost of any vehicles that you’re interested in early, just to see if any updated prices have gone up or down. If you're looking for a cheaper Motability car, it's worth knowing that Advance Payment prices sometimes go down as a model nears the end of its lifecycle, just before a facelift (a significant update to vehicle) or when a manufacturer has a lot of a particular model in stock.
Once you’ve agreed to lease a Motability car and placed your order, the Motability Price Guarantee means that the Advance Payment price of the vehicle on the date you place your order won’t change, even if it goes up while you're waiting for the vehicle to be built and handed over to you by your Motability Specialist.
One feature of the Motability Scheme that many customers don't know about is the Good Condition Bonus.
It works a bit like a cashback incentive. At the end of your Motability lease, Motability could pay you £600 (or £900 for WAVs) if the vehicle hasn't suffered any serious damage. When you hand your car back, the dealer you give it back to will take photos and carry out a full appraisal of it and then, if Motability decide that the car qualifies for the Good Condition Bonus, they'll pay the money straight into your bank account (or sometimes send it to you via a cheque in the post).
Keeping your Motability vehicle in a great condition makes it easier for them to sell it on after you've returned it.
Many Motability customers choose to use this money to help them pay the Advance Payment on their next vehicle, which often means that they can afford a better, higher-spec car.
So, in summary the short answer is yes. It’s always worth asking your Motability Specialist if they can offer you any extra incentives to encourage you to order your new Motability car from their dealership, but remember they are under no obligation to say yes. And please don't be upset if they say don't say yes, because quite often they simply can't.
But as the saying goes, "if you don't ask, you don't get".