ECONOMY

SECOND-HAND LUXURY

At the other end of the pendulum are the less fortunate Greeks who resort to the second-hand car dealers to fulfill their dreams. Dimitris Tsertos, who owns such an auto park, says customers can buy a used luxury car for between 30,000 euros and 50,000 euros. With no deposit down, 80 percent financing from banks and up to 72 monthly installments, they can join the ranks of the luxury brigade. These terms, however, come with some conditions: They have to be self-employed and have a clean bill of financial health from the tax department. The amount of the loan a bank will grant them depends on their latest tax return statement, and therefore influences the realization of their dream. In recent years, the car parks for used cars are filled with brand-name luxury cars. As explained by Meko, whose showroom includes a red Ferrari and a couple of black Porsches, these are cars bought on the never-never by Greeks who keep them for a year or two then trade them in for the latest model or something new. The used luxury cars are something between 20 and 50 percent cheaper than the brand-new vehicles, depending on the model and age. A Mercedez SLK convertible at Meko goes for 49,000 euros, compared with 63,500 euros for its newer version – a savings of 23 percent. The monthly payments, from 12 to 72 months, carry low interest based on a calculation worked out by the banks. The Hertz Leasesaver offers a choice of 20 different types of car from the Hertz fleet, slightly used but in excellent condition and warranted by the company. Individuals seeking long-term rentals of new cars can find a wide range on the market, from 280 euros per month for a convertible Smart to 1,700 euros per month for a Jaguar S-type. All this at a time when Londoners are investing in battery-powered vehicles that are exempt from the Congestion Charge – a hefty12-euro daily tax for entry into the city center. Electric vehicles cost less to run and maintain than petrol-guzzling cars. With zero exhaust emissions, and a year’s driving for the price of a tank of petrol, micro EVs offer the most economic, environmentally friendly alternative. According to Sakis Tsiourtas, researcher at the Hellenic Institute of Transport, the trend for larger-sized cars in Greece is adding to Athens’s pollution problem. In comparison to a car with a 1.4-liter engine, a luxury SUV consumes up to double the petrol and releases into the atmosphere up to 50 percent more pollution, he says.