Short auto leases grow in popularity; most prefer a Honda, Toyota or Lexus

Among trends in the leasing industry reported by are that short-term leasing "remains strong," lease buyouts for Toyota and Lexus automobiles are easing and the Chevrolet Volt is gaining lease customers.

Despite a gasping U.S. economy that is trying hard to recover, Americans are aggressively acquiring existing leases that have very short terms left on them. Toyota, Lexus and Honda are the most popular selections for Americans' short-term leases right now.

“We anticipate this level of short-term leasing to continue to increase even after Japanese inventories return because of the increased appetite for change in vehicle preference,” said Sergio Stiberman (pictured), CEO and founder of

“As more and more of today’s new leases move off the dealer lots we expect to see them coming into our marketplace about 12-18 months from now.”

Meanwhile, Toyota and Lexus, still recovering from production and inventory issues stemming from the March 11 production setbacks triggered by the quake and tsunami, is seeing lease buyout activity from lease takeovers. Customers right now are preferring to take over existing leases with less than 12 months left on them to bridge into 2012. Between 15% and 17% are saying consistently that they'll buy out their leases.

Leasees in California, Michigan and New York are availing themselves of an opportunity to lease the Chevrolet Volt, General Motors Co.'s electric car. The lease deal that has been around since the first quarter of this year is for 36 months at $350 a month. Most drivers say their decision to lease the Volt had more to do with life changes than vehicle performance."

You can reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

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