Where Can You Shop For Car Leases?
A car lease is simply a different method of financing. Any company or organization that provides car loans could potentially offer leasing as an option.
In fact, many large banks do offer leases, although you won't see them promoting it heavily.
For a company to offer leasing, they need to invest in forecasting tools that can determine the residual values of each car they lease out. They end up taking more risk on the deal, but usually make it up through acquisition and disposition fees.
Because of these added costs and risks, not all financial institutions offer leasing.
The main places where you can get a lease are:
- Captive Finance Companies
- Credit Unions
- Independent Leasing Companies
It's important to note that car dealerships don't actually provide the lease. They just merely have relationships with banks or independent companies that offer leasing through them. They're also the only place where you can get a lease through a Captive Finance Company (the finance division of a manufacturer such as GM Financial, or Toyota Financial).
The best lease deals will usually be through the Captive Finance Company, so your first call should be to a couple of local dealers to see what kind of lease rates they're offering (See: How to Find out the Manufacturer's Lease Rates).
If the manufacturer is not offering any special lease deals, your best bet after contacting dealerships is to call a few banks, credit unions, and independent leasing companies such as LeaseCompare.
A few years ago, there were a lot of independent leasing companies that got burned when the value of the cars being returned were not worth as much as predicted. They were left with millions of dollars in losses, and as a result, a lot of companies shied away from leasing.
You won't find as many independent leasing companies these days, although leasing is starting to heat up again so your options will likely get better soon.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
About: Gregg Fidan
Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.