Do you know how many ways there are to save money on a car lease?
Many people don’t know what they’re missing out on. Car manufacturers and leasing companies offer a wide range of bonuses, incentives and programs for qualifying customers. If you fit the bill for any of them, it can shave hundreds of dollars – or more – off of your payments.
Read on for the top leasing incentives that can save you money on your next car.
Everyone likes a returning customer, and car companies are no exception.
To promote brand loyalty, some manufacturers (including Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Honda and Audi) offer rebates to car buyers who have already owned or leased a vehicle of the same brand. This might save you a few hundred dollars.
Some of these programs are available to car leasers as well.
For example, Toyota could run a special lease deal offering up to $750 off on select models, for people who are already leasing a Toyota vehicle. So, by staying within the Toyota brand, you’re rewarded for your loyalty in the form of a better lease deal. There’s also a good chance the brand you’re leasing from will also waive the pesky disposition fee, which could end up saving you a few hundred bucks as well.
If you are leasing a Subaru and you qualify for the Subaru of America Lease Loyalty program, the company will make the first monthly payment of your next Subaru lease, and cover any disposition fee owed on your current lease.
The flip side of loyalty programs is “conquest cash” or “conquest bonuses.”
As much incentive as it is for car manufacturers to keep their loyal customers, they’re also very keen on drawing in new customers from their competitors.
To entice people over the fence, some manufacturers offer juicy incentives on select models to potential car buyers or lessees who are currently driving cars from a rival brand.
These incentives are often fairly open-ended, like how Hyundai offers a Competitive Owner Coupon available to owners of select vehicles from any other brand.
They might also be quite targeted. For example, Chevy currently offers $2,000 off the purchase of a Camaro for people who own a Mustang. This could be considered a “Special Conquest Offer”, but we’ll get more into that later.
Conquest bonuses are especially common in leasing. Lessees are usually more loyal than buyers, since it’s so easy to just roll into the next model at the end of a lease period.
These incentives can scratch from $500 up to $2,000 off the purchase price. They’re available across the spectrum, from luxury brands to budget-oriented companies.
Conquest cash deals are usually clearly advertised. However, when you’re car shopping, be aware that sometimes brands will roll conquest incentives into the advertised price of a vehicle. Great if you qualify but an unpleasant surprise if you don’t, so read the fine print!
Many carmakers will also require that you finance the car through a financing company they control, like Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. or Honda Financial Services.
If you work for a specific corporation, you might also be able to save big on your next lease if your company participates in a special corporate incentive program offered through an affiliate program between certain automakers and your company.
This program removes the hassle of negotiating prices with a dealership, as pre-negotiated prices are agreed upon and offered to eligible companies, simplifying the car-buying process.
Often times that means fantastic discounts off the sticker price of the vehicle for you, the consumer. So make sure you contact your HR department to see if your company participates in any type of purchase program, qualifying you for even more savings.
If you’re a business owner with a small fleet of vehicles, many leasing companies offer corporate deals that can save you a lot of money. There are a few good reasons to take advantage of these offers:
- Tax benefits. When your business leases its company cars, almost all car and travel expenses are tax deductible, including gas, oil changes, insurance, and state inspections. Some states have tax credits for electric cars or low CO2 emissions. As a business, you can qualify for these too.
- Improve cash flow and avoid risk. Corporate leasing incentives make it much more affordable for businesses to lease cars. Buying a car would weigh down your budget with a big lump sum. Leasing instead means you just have to budget for monthly payments, and your company will gain an extra line of credit, improving your cash flow.
- Reward your employees. Giving your best employees use of a company car is a classic way to show your appreciation and build team loyalty. Leasing vehicles for corporate use allows you to get the latest models, which are generally safer, more reliable and fuel efficient – and more fun for your employees to drive!
4. College Graduate Incentives
Being fresh out of college is equal parts jump-in-the-air exciting and hide-under-the-bed challenging.
Diploma in hand, recent grads are faced with moving to a new city, finding a new job, and basically creating a new life for themselves. The bad news: it’s all expensive and you probably have more student loans than savings.
The good news: many automakers offer rebates and discounts to help recent college graduates finance a new car.
It’s a savvy business deal for them. After all, if you’re happy with your first post-college car, you’re likely to return the next time you need a vehicle. Brands are always trying to bring in younger customers, because chances are if you have a good experience, you could potentially be a customer for life.
These deals require customers to provide proof that they’re eligible by meeting the company’s educational requirements. Typically, you’ll have to show:
- Proof of graduation within the last two years or the next six months
- No adverse credit history
- Proof of employment
Many manufacturers require customers to finance or lease the car through their preferred financing company, so you will have to meet those qualifications.
Acura, GM, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, and Ford, among others, offer generous discounts, ranging for $500 to over $1,000. Sometimes these deals are also open to current college students, so ask around.
If you’re an active member or veteran of the Military, you could qualify for extra discounts on your lease as a well-deserved “Thank You” for your service. Most brands offer anywhere from $500-$1,000 off the price of a vehicle, which would drop monthly payments by a nice margin. Current discounts include:
- Acura – $750
- Ford – $500
- Honda – $500
- Hyundai – $500
- Kia – $400
- Nissan – $500- $1,000
- Subaru – $500
- Toyota – $500
6. Special Conquest Incentives
Like Conquest Cash Programs, automakers will offer Special conquest incentives to try and pry you away from specific competing models.
For example, Dodge could offer special conquest incentives on the Durango, for those coming out of a Ford Explorer, resulting in much larger savings. Automakers typically do this as a way to kill two birds with one stone: gain a customer by taking away one from a competitor.
By competing for your business, the consumer has the upper hand and can end up saving thousands on their lease.
Sometimes, to boost sales of a specific model, banks will throw in an extra incentive called Dealer Cash in order to make lease prices more attractive to consumers and to drum up business for themselves. Not all banks will offer dealer bonus cash, so make sure that when going through the leasing process, you’re exploring all of your options when it comes to what bank you are financing through.
For example, if you’re leasing a Jeep, typically you’ll be offered a lease via Chrysler Capital Bank. Usually, they offer the best rates, but with dealer bonus cash, an outside bank such as Ally could offer a more competitive rate if they offer additional dealer bonus cash.
That’s why it’s very important to explore all of your options when determining which financial institution you end up going through. It could be the difference between getting an OK deal or a great deal.
As with Dealer Cash, Lease Cash is also used to boost sales of specific models, with the only difference being that the auto manufacturers are the ones offering the incentive as opposed to the banks.
Automakers have an incentive to do this so they can move inventory that is either not selling, or that they need to move in order to make room for newer models. These deals are offered all year long but are super common towards the end of the year when brands and dealerships are trying to end the year strong.
Leasing is a flexible business, and once you start researching, you’ll find that there are many ways to save money on a lease.
These are just the most popular incentives that you can look out for. You might also benefit from low APR financing, special lease programs offered by manufacturers through their captive financing companies, and other special deals.
Remember that one incentive doesn’t rule out the others. Many can be stacked for even bigger saving.
And don’t think that getting incentives means you can’t negotiate! You can and should bargain as you would otherwise.
Capital Motor Cars is a customer-centered leasing company. This means that for every customer who comes in, we make an effort to research what incentives they might be able to take advantage of. That’s part of how we get the best possible deals for our customers.