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Debate: should people have a choice of luxurious cars on the motability scheme?

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I was pondering this today as someone is presently hoping to qualify for a motability vehicle and are hoping that the process of time needed going through their tribunal for the award will gather enough back payment due and them taking out a loan will be enough to buy (their word) an AMG-GT Mercedes sports car through the motability scheme.

I was wondering how people felt about people being able to drive top of the range elite vehicles on the motability scheme?

Getting in and out of cars is painful for me and I think sports cars are low (though my knowledge of cars is scant) so I'd not be physically able to use one myself. I dread to think what the deposit would be.

I guess it's totally up to the person what vehicle they drive. If they can afford the deposit then I guess the monthly mobility payment from PIP is exactly no different whatever car you choose. But it did give me food for thought. The prices for the Mercedes AMG-GT sports car start from 99,245 and another 10,000 will get you the same but as a convertible. That would be one hell of a deposit.

I see no reason why people should not be able drive whatever motability car they like provided it does not result in a reduction of the availability to others.

My understanding is that the difference in the cost of the car is largely dealt with by the deposit.

As motability is a form of leasing it can be some otherwise expensive models seem relatively cheap if they maintain a higher resale price at the end of the lease.

That's not how the Motability Scheme works so this person who is waiting for a tribunal result and planning to buy that particular Mercedes is going to to be sorely disappointed.  They certainly won't be able to get it through Motability. You can't buy a car through the Scheme and you can't contract-hire whatever you fancy.  The option that used to exist to buy a car on Hire Purchase via the Scheme was scrapped some time ago too.  The up-front payment you now have to pay for a more expensive contract hire car isn't a deposit either - its a one-off, sunk payment that you don't get back even though you don't ever own the car.

WAVs aside (where the provisions are slightly different) you can now only sign up for a 3 year contract hire deal from Motability. All you get is the use (hire) of a car for 3 years. And you can only sign up for one of the cars that is actually offered on the Scheme - those are relatively limited.  Cars that are not included in the Motability list are not available to you.  You never own the car - you only have the use of it for 3 years and then have to hand it back at the end of the 3 year period. There are very limited circumstances where the lease can be extended for a further year.

The makes and models available are limited to cars with a maximum, new, dealer list price of approx 30k. Motability renegotiate with the car manufacturers every quarter so the car list, prices, and costs change every quarter.  A car of that rough value (30k) requires you to pay around 3000 as an upfront payment (which you don't get back) and then your weekly PIP allowance in full for the 3 years.  The scheme used to contain a much, much bigger selection of considerably more expensive cars with massive up front payments but the coalition government put paid to that - Motability cut the selection to cars massively to only those with a maximum one-off up-front payment of 1000.  That has gradually crept back up to the much more useful max 3000 up-front payment that applies now.

Personally I think that you should be able to contract hire whatever car you want via Motability if you are prepared, and able, to afford the up-front payment that it demands.  People all have very different needs and desires when it comes to cars and lifestyles.  If you are working in a good job, have hobbies requiring a big car or have plenty of cash from savings or a compensation award for example, why shouldn't you have a big, fancy, expensive or specialist car?  Its makes no financial difference to Motability - the individual is paying up-front for the additional costs of an expensive car.  Not everyone who receives PIP has state benefits as their only income or has a job with a low income and there's no reason the Scheme can't cater for everyone regardless of income and personal circumstances. 

Motability, the DWP and the government should be doing a much better job of the PR so that the public are no longer under this ridiculous illusion that people on PIP get free cars and that would go a long way to removing the ranting, right-wing, Daily Mail reader attitudes about folk getting fancy free cars which is, of course, based on pure myth.   

Well said neurochick - yes, the motability scheme is basically just worry free motoring (rather than a free car), that they offer a package including servicing and breakdown cover in exchange for the mobility component and any initial payment, and then the car is replaced before it is likely to become unreliable.

The scheme works well for me, as some hand controls are now included in the rental price and fitted at the dealership, so that  is much easier than in the past when I had to buy the controls separately and arrange for someone to drop the car off at the fitters for me, then take me there so I could drive the car home...  I do low mileage commuting to work, so I get the lease extension too, which again is less hassle over five years (although they do need me to take the car in for MOTs as well as services during that period).

The scheme doesn't work well for everyone, though - eg it is a potential disadvantage to not own the car at the end of the lease period...

The person I know says "buy" the car but knows it's never theirs, they've had motability vehicles while they were on high rate mobility on DLA and in fact their current high class BMW is about to be collected as their MR maintained their standard mobility award and even if they accept the verbal offer of enhanced mobility it won't arrive in letter from in time to prevent this car being collected. I'm unsure what deposit he paid for the BMW.

Out of interest I've just used the motability car finder search tool to find out which Mercedes are available and for what deposits and choosing them to be listed with the highest deposit first it seems the Mercedes-Benz Vito 2.1CDI Tourer SELECT 119 and the deposit for this is 11,746

I agree though, because the person with the disability is paying the deposit and the amount the government mobility element of PIP or DLA remains the same whether you use all the benefit on a vehicle or part of the benefit, the government pays no more so it's totally up to the disabled user to choose which vehicle they use. I guess that particular Mercedes-Benz would raise a few eyebrows if they knew it was a motability vehicle as most of the public are unaware of the deposits!


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