The Marlborough District Council spends about $235,000 a year on leasing cars, but the cost is still cheaper than buying the cars, it says.
Questions were raised with the Marlborough Express about whether the council should own its cars after a Blenheim man saw some former council cars for sale at a car dealership in Blenheim.
Council support services manager Dean Heiford said the council operated a mix and match system, owning some cars and leasing others to ensure best value for ratepayers.
Most large companies, including health boards, leased fleets rather than buying cars as it was cheaper and the cars were maintained by the lease company with a guaranteed cost to the council at the end, he said.
The council is leasing 30 vehicles on four-year leases, at a cost of about $235,000 a year including scheduled maintenance and oil changes. The lease does not cover damage, insurance, tyres and cleaning, road user charges and fuel, which the council pays for separately.
It brought in the new vehicles at the end of last year and in February and March as the old leases expired. It bought some of the older vehicles, bringing the number it owns up to 17, Mr Heiford said.
"We own the mayor's car, but we lease the chief executive's - it's a mix and match where it makes sense.
"We have harbour cars, pest cars and the rest of the administration fleet. There's always a balance between the cost of owning and leasing."
Car dealers were entitled to buy cars off lease companies if they wanted, he said.
- The Marlborough Express