Most people shopping for a new car ask themselves that question all the time. In fact, there are many questions that surround whether to buy or lease a vehicle. What are the benefits of one over the other? Would my payment be lower if I leased? What if I decided to buy the car after, would there be a penalty?
Recently, these questions became very real to me when I found myself having to shop for a new car following the untimely death of my husband’s previous vehicle. The deceased was the typical “Dude” car – huge engine, power everything and it was bright yellow. For the new car, I wanted him to get something a bit more sensible; He wanted everything he had before and then some. So, as you can imagine, shopping was a lot of fun (insert sarcasm here).
I am glad to say, however, that what we ended up with made us both very happy and satisfied. We ultimately agreed upon a brand new dark gray metallic mid-sized sedan with lots of nice features to please the gadget fanatic in my husband, and a fuel efficient engine to please the economical budgetista in me. And for the first time in our adult lives, we leased!
As it turns out, Experian Automotive’s recently released State of the Automotive Finance Market report showed that lots of folks are making that same decision. In fact, this quarter’s report said that automotive leasing achieved the highest level since the organization began tracking the data in 2006.
According to the report, leasing accounted for a record 27.5 percent of all new vehicles financed, up from 24.4 percent in Q1 2012. Additionally, findings showed that the average monthly payment for a new vehicle financed in Q1 was $459, down from $462 in Q1 2012.
While leasing a vehicle can help consumers achieve a lower monthly payment, the report also showed a rise in loan term lengths (65 months in Q1 2013, up from 64 months in Q1 2012) and a decrease in interest rates (4.5 percent in Q1 2013, down from 4.6 percent in Q1 2012), which helped to keep payments low for new vehicles financed.
In Q1, the average loan amount for a new vehicle financed increased by $628, going from $26,020 in Q1 2012, to $26,648 in Q1 2013. The average used vehicle loan increased $461, going from $17,071 in Q1 2012, to $17,532 in Q1 2013.