First Auto tempts international execs with new car leasing plan

Motor financing company also introduces new four-year PCP agreements

First Auto Finance, the car financing company set up by former Irish Permanent chief executive Billy Kane, has introduced a new long-term rental agreement plan aimed at international executives working in Ireland on limited contracts.

"There is a growing pool of senior executives who will be located in Ireland for two to three years and who want a no-fuss all-inclusive car finance option," said managing director Frank Donnellan. "Given that they will be here for a relatively short period, we've designed a personal contract hire (PCH) product to give them all the benefits of car ownership without any of the downsides or financial risk."

The company, which introduced its first personal contract plan (PCP) products in 2013, has also announced a new four-year version of the hire purchase agreements.

Such plans, which have becoming increasingly popular in recent years, enable consumers to acquire a new car for a deposit and monthly repayments, before either handing back the vehicle, trading it in for another or paying off the remainder of the loan and keeping it.


Operating successfully

Mr Donnellan said while there has been some negative commentary around PCPs of late, he believes they are a great way to acquire a new car every few years.

“While relatively new here, PCPs have been operating successfully in the UK for over 30 years and our experience with them has been excellent,” he said.

First Auto, a non-bank provider of car finance in Ireland, is the exclusive Irish partner of the UK-based financing firm, Close Brothers Motor Finance. Established in early 2011, the company emerged to fill the credit vacuum left after foreign-owned lenders such as Bank of Scotland, GE and Lombard, who left Ireland in the wake of the downturn.

A subsidiary of the specialist lender Finance Ireland, First Auto has over 40,000 customers and its loan book is now approaching €500 million.

Recently filed abridged accounts for the company show it recorded a €4.68 million pretax profit last year, up from €3.07 million a year earlier. Gross profit jumped from €7.97 million to €11.3 million.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist