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leasing a car in France and Germany

Has anyone had any experiences with leasing a car to travel through France and Germany? We have heard that you can do this if you will have the car for at least 21 days which we could arrange. Also have heard that it is less expensive than renting and we have heard horror stories of the charges people have faced after they got home from rental companies. Any input would be great! Thanks!

Posted by
8769 posts

Four years ago I leased a car through Autoeurope. I picked it up in Frankfurt and dropped it off in Paris. At that time you had to lease for a minimum of 17 days. There is an extra charge for picking up or dropping off outside of France, so it would save you money if you can avoid that. What I really liked was that it was so easy, even easier than picking up a rental car. All the paperwork is done before you arrive. They will pick you up at the airport and transport you to the car. You sign one paper and they hand over the key. You get a new car. There are no additional charges for anything. You are fully insured and they provide 24 hour roadside assistance. People you are related to (spouse, parents, children, siblings) can also drive the car at no additional cost. I highly recommend it.

Posted by
43 posts

We've leased through Auto Europe on two occations, 7 weeks in 2006 and 6 week last spring. First time we picked up and returned to Lyon and the second time on the French side of the Geneva airport. We experence no problems whatsoever. Full insurance coverage with no dedectable and roadside assistance which we never needed. We had a new Peugeot each time. Auto Europe is just broker and the car was actually leased from Peugeot Open Europe. They have a web site that helps you choose the car you want. You don't get to choose the color, but can get some options such as air, automatic or stick shift, diesel or gas, GPS. Auto Europe has a web side where you can enter your dates, car you want, where you want to pick it up and you will get a price. There is an addtional charge if you take delevery or drop off outside of France. If youi drive far enough where the vehile is due for service, it becomes your responsibility, although I believe the labor cost is covered by the warranty. Would we do it again, you bet.

Posted by
309 posts

We've leased on 4 occasions and never run into any problems. We love the peace of mind of all insurances, easy pick-up/drop-off and not extra charges. We even get to return the car almost empty of gas.
We usually arrange through http://autofrance.net/ and usually over their 800 phone number. They are very friendly and efficient.

Posted by
24 posts

All good information - thanks! I will be interested in any responses to the post about what happens if you have an accident - hadn't thought about that angle.

Posted by
1020 posts

I've not leased yet because the rental route has worked out to be less money for our trips. Last summer Sixt was quite a bit cheaper for our month-long trip than both Peugeot and Renault lease programs. Out of curiosity, I just checked again for 21 days beginning and ending at CDG airport in June. Sixt quotes the Renault Megane at half the lease cost. We've never had an issue with a surprise charge after a rental. Use a reputable company and you shouldn't have a problem.

Posted by
2876 posts

"Since you are the owner for the duration of a leased car, in the unlikely case you have an accident or the car breaks down, you are out of luck." Not true. If you rent through Renault Eurodrive, they will provide you with a rental car if your leased vehicle is going to be out of commission longer than 12 hours. If your leased vehicle is going to be out of commission longer than 10 days (as determined by their repair people), they'll provide you with a new replacement vehicle.

Posted by
66 posts

We rented a car May 2010 in Italy and did so in Italy again in 2006. In 2006 a women rear ended us but we had full Insurance (mandatory in Italy) but would have paid extra for it anyway, for peace of mind as we have done for this May in France with a drop off in Brussels for 50Euros; we picked it up in Milan and dropped it off in Venice (no charge). I had all the particulars of this lady and handed it over to Auto Europe's Drop off without any hassle and never heard from them again! Jean

Posted by
8404 posts

Thanks Tom for clearing up the responsibility in case of a breakdown or accident on the lease. My interpretation was, thankfully, wrong. I was hoping someone would have info. Also, thanks to the person for the Sixt information.

Posted by
759 posts

We have rented once through Hertz and leased once through Renault and once through Peugeot. The Hertz rental looked cheap until we got to the Frankfurt airport and found out 1) the price of full collision coverage and; 2) the cost of having my wife added as a second driver. The bargain was gone. They also did not have the compact automatic we reserved and tried to push us into a manual. After explaining that my wife would wreck their manual transmission they finally did give us an upgrade to an automatic. On the leases, you get a brand new car that nobody has smoked in. Anyone in your family who is over 18 can drive it at no extra charge. The insurance is not only zero deductible for collision, there is also a few million Euros LIABILITY insurance. The only reason I switched from Renault to Peugeot is that Peugeot has a better choices for automatic transmissions which is a critical item for us since my co-driver doesn't do manuals. Otherwise we had excellent experiences with both companies. While some people like to use the insurance that their credit card supplies, it is best to check with the rental company to find out whether they plan on putting a hold on your credit card for the value of the car. There are other variation on the third party insurance game that are just as ugly. This coming September will find us in another Peugeot for 3 weeks.

Posted by
11832 posts

We leased once from Renault. We didn't get a scratch, but it was nice knowing full CDW is included in the price. We picked up in A'dam and dropped in Rome. The pickup and drop off charges weren't outrageous and overall the cost beat renting by a large margin. The fact that we got a new car, that we ed just like buying a car, was a bonus. I don't think you can escape the potential for traffic tickets forwarded home, but most of those seem to come from Italy rather than the countries you're visiting.

Posted by
39 posts

Hi, We have leased cars on 4 different occasions and will again in May of this year. On one occasion we had some damage to the car, we never heard from the company except to thank us for leasing the car. We use a company named www.ideamerge.com. If you have questions please feel free to contact us. Doris
Shoreline,WA

Posted by
75 posts

We have not leased yet, but will on this year's trip, probably through Renault Eurodrive. In two rental instances, both through Autoeurope booking and using National rentals, the agency tried to rip us off. The first, at Frankfurt, National inspected the car when it was returned and claimed that pre-existing damage to the car's bumper would be charged to me. When I protested to the inspector, he agreed to waive the charges. Then, an invoice was sent to my home in the US when we returned. In a letter to National I refused to pay, and that ended it. The next instance was at CDG. When I picked up the car I took digital photos of all damage (significant) in front of the agent, and noted on the rental form the areas of damage. When the car was returned to CDG - at 6:00 AM - there was no-one at the drop office, so I parked in a National slot and used the key drop. When we returned home 3 weeks later, National sent a letter saying that I'd been in an unreported accident, had kept the car an extra day, and caused $600 worth of damage. None of this was true. It took 4 years and the involvement of a lawyer to get them off my back. The common denominators in these cases was National and the use of Visa CDW coverage. I realize that countless rentals in Europe are problem-free, but I'm snake-bit now and will either lease or buy full CDW from the rental company. And will never use National again. YMMV.

Posted by
1839 posts

We have a reservation for a rental car starting in Munich and ending in Koln for 4 weeks, renting through the broker www.gemut.com. We plan to drive the car through Italy, France and Switzerland as well as Germany. I was curious to check on leasing a car and for our particular trip the lease came us as being $500 more minimum, and going up quite a bit from there. Our price is $1019.00 which I think is pretty good for a month.

Posted by
2876 posts

Not saying your deal isn't better, but when you compare renting to leasing, you have to make sure the rental price includes full, no deductible insurance (as a lease price does), and that you're comparing the same kind of car. With leasing you also avoid any airport or 'additional driver' surcharges.

Posted by
9110 posts

'you have to make sure the rental price includes full, no deductible insurance' Only if that's what you want. If the lease covers it, and there's not way out of it, and you don't want it, it could make the lease more expensive for your needs. You need to compare apples and oranges; but the only stuff in the fruit basket should be stuff you want.

Posted by
1020 posts

The subject of rental car insurance has been discussed quite a lot on these forums. Apart from an Italian rental, insurance isn't required to be purchased from the rental company. If it is already taken care of under the terms of a credit card, there's no need to pay for it again, though some travelers choose to do so. American Express has first dollar coverage for $20 per rental, not per day.

Posted by
8404 posts

Back to Lee's experiences with National Car Rental in Europe, I'll add that of the dozens of times we've rented through AutoEurope, only once did we have the misfortune of getting the car from National. Out of the several problems we had, one was a charge, but an insignificant one, for gas. AutoEurope handled this for us immediately. All of our other rentals through AutoEurope have been relatively problem-free Europecar rentals. If there was ever a question, AutoEurope handled it immediately, one reason I like going through this agency.

Posted by
75 posts

I will say that Autoeurope convinced National to drop the extra day's charge (which was not legiit) but punted on the damage claim and the falsely asserted accident. Visa wouldn't do anything because there had been no accident for them to cover damages from. It was an interesting scam.

Posted by
83 posts

Consider Auto France. Based in New Jersey. Have leased from them twice. Most recently last summer for four weeks for a driving tour of France. Excellent experience with them each time. You will always get a new Peugeot. Insurance, VAT, everything included in the price. No unwelcome surprises as too often happens with rental car firms that may lure you with a teaser price. Rick's "France" guidebook has the info.