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Americans abandon unaffordable auto leases

America's unsettled economy has made cash-poor drivers do whatever they can to get out of their auto leases so they can drive more affordable wheels, according to data from June analyzed by In June, 54.7% of drivers who abandoned or transferred leases blamed money woes.


Lease escapes also were high in May (56.2%) and January (62.7%). Analysts believe lease give-ups were high those months also because drivers of luxury vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade (pictured) just couldn't ante up the cash anymore.

Thousands of lease drivers across the country use to escape an existing lease by transferring the remaining contract to someone else. Some reasons involve people wanting a different car. Others simply cannot afford their lease payments.

“This number has always been a little bit of an economic indicator for us because it shows when people are making a change for vanity or financial reasons,” said Sergio Stiberman, CEO of

The current situation is a turnabout from late 2007, when 68.3% of people said they used because they wanted a different car. At that time 27.1% said they opted out of leases over money woes.

The sputtering economy since 2008 has been the consistent excuse Americans cite in dumping their auto leases. Housing, credit card bills and job / income status are blamed the most for getting out of an auto lease.

Luxury-car drivers are the most likely people to dump or transfer a lease, statistics show. Entry-level luxury, premium luxury and SUV luxury show the highest percentage of lease transfers. In many cases a person will downsize from premium luxury to entry luxury, the Web site says.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected].

Image source: Cadillac


Cadillac Chica… (not verified)    July 11, 2011 - 2:24PM

Often many times people will lease luxury cars because they can't afford to buy them. It's common for many people to appear wealthy by driving luxury cars and living in McMansions but living on credit and being quite poor. When you're low on cash, it makes more sense to buy an affordable car that you can drive for many years until it dies instead of driving the latest luxury model every other year.