Auto leasing programs on the comeback

Bloomberg reports that auto leasing programs are starting over again as consumers are beginning to look for cheap ways to drive expensive cars. The story reports that both General Motors and Chrysler have restarted their previously-discontinued GMAC Financial Services leasing program, which had been stopped after demand for leasing fell in 2008. In addition, Ford and Toyota are both planning extended marketing pushes and promotions for their existing marketing programs.

“Leasing is really a critical piece of the business because people who lease have much higher loyalty to your brand,” Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of marketing, said in an interview. “This is something the dealers have been asking for for a long time.”

“Leasing is coming back,” Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive officer of researcher of Santa Monica, California, said in an interview yesterday. He predicts the practice will soon account for 20 percent of U.S. auto sales, more than doubling from the first half of 2009. Increased used-car values are “making leasing more attractive,” he said.