Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster

The very stylish Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster hit the 'Car Catwalk' recently and was an instant 'head turner'. With its sleek lines and semi gull-wing doors, it had car enthusiasts salivating with a desire to take it for a burn on the German autobahn. This is the fastest automatic car in the world and one which Mercedes can be truly proud of.

My brother - the car connoisseur - actually had a part in its creation. I asked him some in depth questions about his work with McLaren....

Me: "So Pete... what was your role in the development of the SLR Roadster?"

Pete: "Design, development and supply of the body sealing system. That means the rubber bits around the doors and the roof. This was a bit more complicated than usual due the hinge position of the doors on the upper A-Pillar; and the fact that the door design is mainly carried over from the coupe and was never originally designed to be a convertible. Because the planned production volumes are low - maybe 800 cars depending on customer demand - the parts are produced more or less by hand in Metzeler's prototype workshop."

Me: "Did you have any say in the design of the car?"

Pete: "As a system partner we try to influence the body design to allow the best sealing performance, that means a lot of simultaneous engineering, and required a lot of visits to McLaren's Engineering centre in Woking (just outside London) to coordinate with the Engineering people there. This is also where the Formula 1 team is based and where the F1 cars are built and engineered. You can take a look at and follow the link to Mclaren Technonogy Centre which in itself is an amazing place."

Me: "How long were you working on the car?"

Pete: "I started on the project in Feb/March 2006 and the first production cars were built at the beginning of June 2008. We supplied prototype parts at various stages for development cars, and I was at the Daimler test facility in Laredo Texas twice to support testing and development."

Me: "So do you reckon I could afford one??"

Pete: "In Europe the base price is around 495,000€ - there is a long list of extras and customers can personalise their cars as well.. I don't think there are any plans to sell them in Australia officially and I really don't think you could afford one."

Me: "Fine then.. Guess I'll have to stick to my Rav 4. Thanks little brother.."

Pete in Germany with his 'baby'...
ENGINE 5439cc, eight cylinders
POWER 617bhp @ 6500rpm
TORQUE 575lb ft @ 3250rpm
TRANSMISSION Five-speed auto
FUEL 14.5mpg (combined) CO2 348g/km
ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 3.8sec
TOP SPEED 207mph

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Vehicle Salary Packaging - How Can it Save You Money?" - Summary

Putting it All Together
We've talked about the three ways of saving money when you salary package a vehicle via a Novated Lease. You can save money on:
- the purchase price;
- on GST; and
- on the salary packaging.
Now lets put it all together with a realistic example.
Say Mr. A. Person wants to buy a Ford Focus TDCI (Hatch) with a recommended retail price (On Road and with accessories) of $31,800.00.
The Novation company, with their access to fleet discounts etc. is able to purchase the car for $28,100.00.
Saving 1: $3,700.00
The Tax Invoice price for the vehicle of $28,100.00 includes GST of $2450.00. This GST is claimed by the finance company as an Input Tax Credit. (So is not included in finance contract.)
Saving 2: $2450.00
By Salary Packaging the vehicle under the Employee Contribution Method your net take home savings are approximately $4135.00 per year.
Saving 3: $4135.00 x three years = $12,405.00
Total Savings: $18,555.00
When you analyze a Novated Lease agreement the savings are quite considerable. Why would you go out and buy a car yourself - paying the total price and putting a great deal of your savings into the purchase - if you are able to novate one? The more I learn about this, the more I'm convinced its the way to go.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Vehicle Salary Packaging - How Can it Save You Money?" - Part 3

Saving Tax
The third way to save money when you salary package a vehicle via a Novated Lease is through the effect it has on:
- reducing the income tax you pay: and
- the subsequent increase in your take home salary.

By Packaging the operational costs as well, the savings can be quite considerable.
In the above example (Quote dated 17/07/08) savings could be as much as $4,775.34 each year - totalling approximately $19,000.00 over four years!

*Table provided by Supanova shows an example of possible annual savings for this particular scenario.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Vehicle Salary Packaging - How Can it Save You Money?" Part 2

Saving on the GST
The second way to save money when you salary package a vehicle via a Novated Lease (when you purchase from a car dealership) is through the GST savings. When leasing a vehicle, the financier claims the GST as an input tax credit, which means the employee is not required to finance this part of the total invoice.
Basically this happens because the finance company owns the vehicle and the employee is renting / leasing the vehicle from the financier.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Vehicle Salary Packaging - How can it save you money?" Part 1

Saving on the Purchase Price
There are three main ways to save money when you salary package a vehicle via a Novated Lease. The first way of saving money is on the purchase price of the vehicle. Some employees will be able to access additional fleet discounts normally only available to corporations with large fleets of vehicles. This discount is available to you because the account manager at the novation company can often buy at fleet prices as a result of the large amount of business he puts the way of car dealerships. The discount will depend on the quality of the novation company you choose and the type of car.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Some Eye Candy for the Car Lover...

The distinctive Bugatti (Bugatti Veyron FBG par Hermes I believe) at the International Geneva Motor Show (Salon International de l'Auto) earlier this year.

photos: P. Olney

Car makers love displaying their wares at this show because it is considered to be the most level playing field. Switzerland does not have its own auto industry, and so it is felt that in Geneva there is less chance of bias towards any particular manufacturer.

The History..

This extract from Wikipedia sums up the Bugatti company in a nutshell..

..."Bugatti was founded in Molsheim, France as a manufacturer of high performance automobiles by
Ettore Bugatti, an Italian man described as an eccentric genius.
The original company is legendary for producing some of the most exclusive cars in the world as well as some of the fastest. The original Bugatti brand failed with the coming of World War II, like many high-end marques of the time. The death of Ettore's son Jean was also a contributory factor. The company struggled financially into the 1960s eventually being purchased for its airplane parts business. Today the name is owned by
Volkswagen AG who have revived it as a builder of very limited production sports cars."...

I asked my brother about the Bugatti and he said ..."its very fast (400 kmh)... its very expensive (if you have to ask how much then you can't afford it)"... Check out the Bugatti web site - that's a fantastic experience in itself!

What Does the Word 'Novation' Mean?

Well I'm glad you asked... According to the Macquarie Dictionary, the word 'novation' is a law term and means:

...'the substitution of a new obligation for an old one, usually by the substitution of a new debtor or of a new creditor.'...

In terms of a novated lease this means that the employer - through the process of salary packaging - packages the employee's financial obligation to lease his car as part of his salary in pre tax dollars. Thus the original Financial Lease Agreement becomes a Novated Agreement.

What Types of Cars Can You Novate?

A broad range of cars can be novated.

You can novate a new car - either sourced by you or by the novation company.

You can novate a used car. The used car can be purchased:
- through a LMCT (Licenced Motor Car Trader) dealership;
- from a private seller; or
- from yourself! (your own car) *conditions apply

Yes, you can ask the novation company to organise the purchase of your own car by the financial institution, and then arrange to have the vehicle leased back to you through a novated lease. This was a particularly popular method of novation when interest rates went up and people wanted to move the lump sum they had invested in their car on to their home mortgage.

*The amount paid for your car will be determined by an evaluation obtained by the finance company and the novation company.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Can You Novate a Car if You're Self Employed?

The simple answer is 'yes'. My husband - who knows about these things - tells me that if you have a ABN number and you draw a set wage from your business you can novate a car. Your company is the 'employer' and you are the 'employee'. You get all the pre-tax benefits that any other person would get. If you don't draw a set wage from your business (i.e. draw random amounts of cash), but still pay PAYE tax, you can also novate a car, but it will require a little more paper work from your end.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Who Can Novate a Car?

Wondering if you can novate a car? Well if you work on a full-time basis for a company who allows their employees to salary package vehicles, then you can. Many companies nominate a particular novation company for their employees to go through, although some leave that decision to the employee. The type of car you can novate will depend on your salary scale and your other committments. You're probably not going to get approval for a $120,000.00 car if your annual salary is less than $50,000.00! The novation company will work with the employee, the employer and the financier to broker the deal.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Imagine Novating This!!!

My brother lives in Germany and works for a company called Metzeler. They make rubber moldings for all sorts of exotic cars and needless to say he is a 'car connoisseur'. (he likes cars!!!)

He took these photos at a recent car show in Geneva. I - not knowing much about cars - have no idea what it is, but I like it! Imagine novating this! I guess it would take some time to pay off...

What is 'Novation'?

Well I for one had no idea about what novation was and how it worked until someone asked me what my husband did. I told them he was in the novation business.. but then they asked me to explain... I 'um'ed and 'ar'ed for a bit, then said it had something to do with selling cars. Wrong!!!! When I told him about the conversation he was particularly unimpressed and he sat me down and explained in detail why he wasn't a car salesman.

Apparently car novation is to do with financing cars - but in a way which is very beneficial to the purchaser. You can actually go out and find the car you want yourself. Make the deal, do the sale etc., and then get in touch with a novation company and they can 'salary package' it for you. You can make payments for the car, insurance and even petrol costs in pre tax dollars! Cool... who would have thought! So much to learn, so little time...