Back in 1999, about one in four new vehicles purchased were leases. That number dropped throughout the last decade until the Great Recession put leasing on the endangered species list. Automakers were losing money due to poorer-than-expected residual rates. At the same time, customers weren’t in the mood to spend money on a new car or truck. As a result, Chrysler stopped leasing altogether in 2008, and General Motors limited leasing to its most popular models.
Wards Automotive reports that while leasing has taken a considerable beating, the two- and three-year vehicle rental is now on the comeback trail. GM and Chrysler are back in the leasing business, and according to Wards, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia are pushing hard to increase lease transactions. Are automakers rolling the dice in an effort to move more metal? Maybe not.
With vehicle inventories in check, there’s less chance residuals will take a dive, and at the same time the certified used car programs get a shot in the arm with low-mile, warranty-equipped cars and trucks. We probably won’t see 25-percent lease rates anytime soon, but Automotive Lease Guide Inc sees the practice jumping to a 20-percent take rate by 2015.