The Royal family are understood to be benefiting from a leasing arrangement by German car manufacturer Audi which could offer them up to a 60 per cent discount on their cars.
As valued customers, the Royals are able to take advantage of the company’s VIP terms and conditions – meaning their cars are also personally delivered.
Such favourable leasing arrangements are not available to ordinary motorists and shows why the Royals have favoured the manufacturer over the last decade.
This Audi A6 being driver by Charles, with wife Camilla, is one of a number of models the Royals have leased with up to a 60% discount
The Prince of Wales owns several models, including an A8 limousine that cost £92,500 and a pair of Allroad estate for personal use by himself and the Duchess of Cornwall.
He has also purchased two A4’s for his staff.
Prince William drives a S4 saloon which has a 4.2 litre engine while his fiancee Kate Middleton owns a silver A3 model. Prince Harry also owns a diesel A3.
The deal with the company may also explain why its head of PR Jon Zamett has been invited to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding at the end of the month.
The manufacturer is understood to be investing thousands of pounds in boosting its image – and getting close to the Royals.
They have made large donations to charities that are supported by the Princes and signed an agreement in 2005 to sponsor the English polo squad.
Princes William and Harry have a chat as they get into William’s 4.2 litre S4 saloon
Kate Middleton and a friend watch a polo match as an Audi 4×4 sits on top of the hill. Miss Middleton has previously bought an A3 model
Marketing experts say that offering their cars at competitive rates could offer unique prestige.
Ian Stephens, of Saffron Brand Consultants, told the Times: ‘Giving away cars is a bit sensitive.
‘If you rent them at a discount you get around concerns over bribery or corruptions and still gain the association.’
‘Audi are competing against other German and luxury brands that are established in the UK market, and they’ve always been outsiders. They are trying to buy their way into the establishment.’
Audi has recruited stars such as singer Justin Timberlake to boost its brand and advertise its A1 model
Royals are not the only targets of Audi’s campaign.
In a document shown to the Times newspaper, the carmaker is specifically targeting individuals for discounts who ‘will directly impact the brand image’.
This has included sports figures, politicians and celebrities.
Recently, singer Justin Timberlake has fronted adverts for the A1 model while former cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’ has become a company ambassador in the Middle East.
A spokesman for the company said: ‘We provide VIPs with a service when it is inconvenient for them to go to a dealer.’
‘We have fleet buyers who will buy more than one car – it’s appropriate for them to have a discount.’
The spokesman would not comment on specific cases involving the Royals.
A Clarence House spokesman added that ‘of course’ Prince Charles paid for his cars but would not discuss any terms.