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How to Get the Best Car Lease Deals
Before we launch into the steps for getting a great car lease, you should know how leasing works. That's what this web site is about. So, if you haven't done so already, we suggest you read our first, then come back to this page.
There are essentially three different methods for getting good car lease deals — Good, Better, and Best. The technique you use will depend on which is more appropriate to your particular situation. Let's explain now.
This technique requires the most work and knowledge. It's a kind of do-it-yourself lease deal.
To be successful you must know which car brands make the best lease cars, you must know how to research and negotiate prices, and you must know how to evaluate lease deals.
First, you should know that American car brands do not generally make good lease vehicles because lease-end resale (residual) values are generally lower than Asian and European brands. High residual values make for lower lease payments. You should also know that many American brands no longer have manufacturer-sponsored leasing programs (Ford excepted). Those American-brand dealers who lease use large national banks whose lease deals are typically not very good.
Therefore, to get the best lease deals, choose a vehicle that has a high natural lease-end residual value. As a rule-of-thumb, if the 36 month lease-end residual percentage is 50% or higher, then it can be a good lease deal, assuming other factors are favorable as well.
After residual value, a vehicle's price is the next most important factor in getting a good lease. Therefore, you should find vehicles that already have advertised discounts and rebates — and then negotiate additional discounts if possible. Use Edmunds.com to research prices, including dealer invoice price, True Market Value price, and available incentives.
Finally, money factor is important. Money factor is a form of financial interest rate and is stated as something like .0022. To convert to standard interest rate, multiply the number by 2400 (yes, it's always 2400). Therefore, a money factor of .0022 is equivalent to 5.28% interest. A good money factor is anything lower than the current national new-car loan rate, which at the time of this writing is 6.71% (source: ).
If you have a good price, a nice high residual, and a low money factor, you automatically have a good lease deal. If you want to know exactly how good, you can use the Lease Evaluator in our optional .
Many car companies offer time-limited special lease deals that are already genuinely good deals without any effort on your part. These are usually advertised on the car company's web sites and describe the details of the deals. Look for the "promotions" or "incentives" section of the site.
These special lease deals are put together by car manufacturers, not dealers, to help promote sales and make their vehicles more affordable. The ...