Two pieces of news this week make it clear that the people in the market for a new car or truck have some opportunities to make their choice of leasing or buying more interesting.
First, leasing is coming back.
The latest data shows the percent of domestic cars and trucks being leased continues edging higher. It was up to 17.3% in the fourth quarter of last year. The highest point since leasing rates bottomed out at 10% in 2003. But it is still well below the high of 23% for leasing rates back in 1999. Leasing's comeback is due to a couple of changes in the industry. The first being the big 3 pulling back on the hefty incentives (0% for 60 months) the automakers used to push new car sales the last two years. Without those deals, the monthly payment for many new cars is higher for some buyers.
Meanwhile, the automakers are doing a better job of managing the residual values expected for vehicles when the come off their leases. That means the industry has a better shot at avoid the nasty downside effects it felt after leasing boom in the late 90's.