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To Lease Or Not To Lease? That's The Question Now

CNBC.com

It's not quite 1999, but it sure is starting to feel like that again. Back then, leasing a car was all the rage. The percentage of leased cars, trucks, and SUVs was substantially higher, and you often heard people say, "Don't buy it. Lease it!!"

It looks like we're heading that way again.

Increasingly, I'm seeing articles, hearing anecdotal stories, and talking with dealers about leasing being a better option than buying. Holy 8 year loan! What's going on? Well, it's the 6, 7, and 8 year loans in large part that are likely turning buyers into leasers.

This is totally understandable. As you may have read in past blogs (see related posts), we are seeing substantial growth in 6 and 7 year loans. Now there are reports around the country of customers seeking 8 and even 9 year loans. At some point, people looking for a new ride are going to say, enough. That's why leasing looks so much more attractive.

A colleague of mine just got a 27 month lease on a Mercedes and is happy as a clam. Why shouldn't he be. He's locked in a great rate for just over 2 years and isn't tied down for the next 72 months. There was a time when I thought leasing was not always a smart move. But if someone gives you the choice of a 3 year lease or 6 year loan, you might want to think twice.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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