Auto lease activity remained essentially flat, compared to the previous several quarters, according to Swapalease.com, an online marketplace that allows consumers to transfer their lease contracts with other interested individuals.
Looking toward the remaining quarters in 2017, the company expects lease penetrations to stay flat even if new-vehicle sales begin to dip, due to consumer appetite for leasing.
“There remains plenty of strength in the lease market during the first quarter, and we believe this should persist through the remainder of the year,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.com. “We are seeing data that suggests people are looking to exit their leases earlier in the life of the lease, which shows a healthy appetite to replace their lease with a different type of vehicle.”
During the first quarter of 2017, Swapalease saw interest in American nameplates fall slightly. Cadillac saw the biggest jump in consumer interest on the site, with Buick and GMC also seeing a slight increase in interest. Interest in Ford and Chrysler vehicles was down in the quarter, the company reported.
Consumer interest level in European and Asian vehicles stayed relatively flat. Hyundai and Subaru, according to the company, continue to see the largest jump in consumer interest, with consumer the number of searches rising by 16% and 12%, respectively.
Among European brands, Mercedes-Benz and BMW continue to retain a high level of consumer interest, with the number of searches on Swapalease for the brands increasing by 10% and 9%, respectively.
The company has also seen the search traffic on its site for Volkswagen vehicles go up by 2% compared to the previous quarter, possibly signaling that the brand’s reputation is continuing to mend for people shopping for a lease.
The average monthly payment on a lease was $436.35 in the first quarter, up slightly from the previous quarter. Mercedes-Benz held the most expensive average monthly payment at $704.65, while Toyota held the cheapest at $384.34.
Incentive dollars have also risen slightly. During the first quarter, overall incentives averaged $677.24, compared to $662.17 a year ago, the company stated.