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Leasing a Car Provides Answer for Uber Drivers Needing Vehicle Upgrade

Leasing a car is simply one more accommodation for fast-growing Uber and its drivers. According to The Rideshare Guy (yes, there are even blogs dedicated to ride-hailing services), a multitude of leasing options targeting ride-hailing drivers in general and Uber drivers in particular, provide a number of options to help drivers overcome the requirement for using a later-model car when on the clock.

As another example of the ever-expanding sharing economy, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are gaining momentum. Related industries, such as automotive, insurance, financing and so on, are trying to position themselves to board this train rather than be run over by it. It’s all good news for the drivers who form the backbone of the ride-hailing market.

Because of the mileage limits baked into traditional leases, however, leasing as we know it hasn’t been a sensible solution for ride-hailing drivers trying to satisfy the late-model-car requirement: 2001 model-year cars or later for Uber drivers. But new programs aimed directly at these drivers are opening up leasing as a viable method to grow Uber’s stable of drivers and cars.

Toyota Commits

Toyota recently announced it ponied up an undisclosed sum of money to partner with Uber. The first payoff of this union — for current as well as aspiring Uber drivers, at least — will be an arrangement by which Uber drivers with bruised credit can lease new Toyota models through the carmaker’s financing arm, Toyota Financial Services. Toyota and Uber have yet to work out all the details, but drivers will be able lease a vehicle and cover the monthly payments with their Uber earnings.

Toyota recently told Autotrader that it’s ironing out the wrinkles in the Uber leasing program during beta testing in selected areas. “The door is open, but we haven’t quite stepped through it,” Toyota spokesperson John Hanson said.

If the leasing program proves beneficial to Toyota and Uber, we can expect them to cooperate in other areas, as well.

Uber Xchange Leasing

An umbrella program involving Uber and a number of participating lenders, Xchange Leasing, puts Uber drivers behind the wheel of a 2009, or newer, full-size, 4-door vehicle with less than 75,000 miles on its odometer. Qualifying to apply for leasing a car through Uber Xchange requires an applicant be a registered Uber driver. Once approved, the driver must pay a $250 deposit and sign a contract with Uber to have weekly lease payments deducted from his or her Uber earnings. Participating drivers must also show proof of insurance.

With 2 weeks notice any time after the first 30 days, a participating driver may terminate the lease and return the vehicle without penalty. There have been claims that monthly payments for Xchange leases tend to run more than a traditional lease, but the mileage is unlimited and routine maintenance is included.

Rental Platforms

HyreCar and Uber-Enterprise provide Uber drivers with short-term solutions to their car needs. Both offer rentals for shorter periods — HyreCar for 2 days or more and Uber-Enterprise for 7 days or more — that can keep Uber drivers on the road earning money when they don’t have access to their regular vehicle. Such rentals also allow drivers to react to temporary transportation opportunities requiring larger vehicles, such as a big convention in their area.

Uber-Enterprise operates as a traditional rental company, but has special deals and requirements for Uber drivers. HyreCar really reflects the sharing economy, matching Uber drivers wanting to rent out their vehicles during downtime to other Uber drivers needing a vehicle for just a few days.

Subscription car service Flexdrive* is another option for Uber drivers, with subscription options of 1 week to several months at a time. Flexdrive allows drivers to get the car they want whenever they want it with insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance included.

What it means to you: Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you’ve pondered the idea of becoming an Uber driver, but haven’t made the plunge because your vehicle doesn’t meet the requirements, there are alternatives to buying a new car.

*Flexdrive is a Cox Automotive company, which is the parent company of Autotrader.

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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