Audi 100 2,3E 1991
Just a short 17 months after my first two cars, the BMW and Mercedes, I became the owner of a third major German automotive brand product – the Audi 100 2.3E (C4). This was also the first car I ever leased.
I remember the price being around €9500 with an interest rate of 18% p.a. (which I remember so precisely because VAT exactly the same, at 18%). And it was a proper bank-owned leasing company that provided the financial backing, rather than one of the modern car loan companies which don’t care about their customers’ backgrounds and base their decisions entirely on the value of the car, and thus charge high interest. Back then, such a business model wasn’t known even to the loan industry. I had to provide my company’s balance sheet and P&L statement just to qualify for the lease. I relied on help from a friend who worked at a different bank, allowing me to tweak the balance sheet and P&L statement a bit. He knew all the “correct” ratios between equity, liabilities and EBITDA, and other similar variables, necessary to qualify for a car lease with a monthly repayment of roughly €220.
I feel I must add that the director of the leasing company which financed my Audi purchase later became a very close friend. We participated in go-kart competitions for the same team for some years, and today we are members of the same yacht club and meet up every now and then – all of which started from signing a rather favourable lease on a car…
The Audi itself was quite modern – I bought the car in early 1997, so it was barely 6 years old at the time of purchase, making it the newest car I had owned in my rather short history of car ownership. I held on to the Audi for almost two and a half years and even had it serviced – unlike my very first car, when I was oblivious to the fact that cars should be serviced every now and then.