Leasing is down industry-wide by about 50% from 2007 levels, but General Motors' captive credit arm took an even bigger bite out of its vehicle leasing in September. GMAC leased only 2% of all GM products in September, and the decision to do so had everything to do with the recent events of the financial markets. While leasing was down GM-wide in September, GMAC and Chevrolet were hit the hardest. The General's two volume brands accrued only .6% and .7% of its sales through leasing, compared to 11.2% and 13.6% respectively last year. Leasing is virtually non-existent for vehicles with low residuals, and Cadillac, which typically leases over 40% of its vehicles, leased at an 8.4% clip last month.

Nobody on Wall St. is purchasing securities right now, giving GMAC very little money to offer leases to its customers. A controlling interest in GMAC was purchased by Cerberus well before the private equity firm took control of Chrysler. Chrysler stopped leasing all together on August 1 in response to the huge losses it took on returned leases of SUVs and trucks. Both GM and GMAC say the break from leasing is only temporary, but with the financial markets still in flux, don't expect this trend to reverse itself any time soon.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]