If I said that you could have two cars for the price of one, you’d probably tell me that I’m having a laugh.
But picture this: you’re a business owner working in the city, while spending your down time further afield in the countryside. You can have a car dedicated to each of these facets of your life, and it will cost you less than the one executive car, such as a BMW, currently sitting in the driveway.
It’s taken us a while to work it out, but with business owners coming to us every couple of weeks for advice on what car to buy, the rather complicated calculations have been worthwhile. It’s part and parcel of the wider valued added service we pride ourselves on, looking at the overall picture with a view to ensuring our clients reap maximum benefit from their labours.
So here’s how it works: Let’s say you live in Helensburgh, and commute every day to your business in Glasgow. The city isn’t a very handy place for a large 4×4, what with parking restrictions and the increasing clamp-down on exhaust emissions.
But that relatively short commute could be easily handled by an all-electric vehicle such as a Nissan Leaf or similar, which comes with several tax reliefs that make it a very attractive option from that standpoint.
Now it’s Saturday morning, and time to head out to Loch Lomond, or up to Perth, or wherever your outdoor lust takes you. With its more limited driving range and relatively small boot, the electric car simply isn’t practical for all the stuff. So you switch over to the Isuzu pick-up, or something similar, with all the space needed for your kit, kids, dogs and whatever else needs hauled about.
If you’re driving distances typical for Scotland – which is about 10,000 business miles plus 10,000 leisure miles annually – owning both vehicles through your business will be about £22,000 cheaper than the one BMW over a three-year period. That’s a minimum net £7,000 a year if you’re prepared to go fully electric on the commuter car. The higher your annual mileage goes above the combined 20,000, the more this equation favours the two-car option.
For the owner of a business earning £50,000 annually, it’s the equivalent of being £12,000 to £15,000 better off per year. So yes, you can have two cars for the price of one – in fact, it will probably be the cheaper option.
The truth is, if you’re buying a company car, you can get anything you want, but the tax implications are quite big.
Use the rules to your advantage, and you could have the perfect city commuting car as well as the ideal vehicle for weekend escapes to the Highlands. However, it a complicated area and each case needs bespoke advice but we’re here to help with that.
- Ross Boyd is director of Ross Boyd Ltd international business consultancy.