That car you leased three years ago probably has become a cash cow. But deciding what to do with that equity — and what to drive next — has become confusing.
Before the car market was turned upside down by the pandemic, microchip shortages and supply chain disruptions, most people simply turned in their leased cars. But now that most leased vehicles are worth thousands of dollars more than the predetermined price in the lease contract, a savvy consumer might want to leverage that bonus.
And that’s where things get tricky.
“Getting the equity out at the end of the lease is more difficult than just turning it back in,” says Scot Hall, executive vice president of operations for Swapalease, which matches leaseholders with car shoppers looking to take over a lease.
There’s a new wrinkle
“Captive” automotive lenders, the financing arms of manufacturers that usually handle leases, want those