Lease Volume Down Another Seven Percent in '02
The Association of Consumer Vehicle Lessors (ACVL) announced that member leasing companies reporting both 2001 and 2002 volume had a total reduction in new leases from 2.02 million to 1.89 million. Since the peak of leasing in 1999, leasing volume has fallen 42.6 percent. The 2002 decline is due entirely to reduced captive volumes. Total bank leases increased slightly by 0.6 percent, while all captive volume was down 8.5 percent. "There were a number of factors contributing to lower lease volumes," said Rob Mize, ACVL president, "including the expansion of 0 percent retail installment programs and other similar manufacturer installment sale promotions, continued declines in residual values (causing higher monthly lease payments that make leasing less competitive compared to financing), and fewer manufacturer-subvented lease programs." ACVL members also reported that their end-of-term residual losses increased somewhat in 2002. Residual losses increased to $3,269 in 2002 from a weighted average of $2,961 in 2001, a 9.4 percent increase. The survey highlights areas in which bank and captive vehicle leasing programs differ. The average lease term of bank lessors was 50 months in 2002, compared to slightly less than 40 months for captive finance company lessors. The average booking rate of applications received for captives was 72 percent compared to 51 percent for banks. On the other hand, the average bank lessor was more selective on credit with 86 percent of new leases having a credit bureau score above 680 (a standard measurement of a "strong" credit applicant). Captive finance companies, had 60 percent of leases over that same threshold. Security deposits continued to disappear. A few years ago, security deposits were common in virtually all leases. In response to consumer preferences, the deposit requirement began to change in the late 1990s. In 2001, lease security deposits became the exception rather than the rule, assessed in only 35 percent of the leases of the average lessor. This trend continued into 2002: only 22 percent of leases booked had security deposits. Banks reported that just 7.7 percent of leases had security deposits versus 32.7 percent for captives. The decline in security deposits is in response to consumer requests to minimize upfront lease costs. Many members charge higher rates or acquisition fees when security deposits are waived.