Taking advantage of a lease pull ahead program can save... Taking advantage of a lease pull ahead program can save you money (Alamy).
According to data from Swapalease.com, 2014 is shaping up to be the "Year of the Lease Pull Ahead."

Nearly 3 million vehicles projected to come off of lease this year, a 50 percent increase from 2013, according to NADA. Because of that spike in turnover, manufacturers are ramping up incentives in order to keep lessees from jumping to other brands. This is good news for consumers, as lease pull aheads often offer great deals.

Manufacturers such as BMW, Ford and Lincoln utilized aggressive pull-ahead programs throughout 2013. With so many people coming off of leases and finding themselves back in the new car market in 2014, even more automakers are going to join the trend.

What the heck is lease pull ahead, anyways?

You've probably heard this term before, likely in a local car or dealer commercial.

Lease pull ahead programs are simple. Automakers and dealers entice lease holders to turn in their vehicles early in order to "re-lease" another vehicle, said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.com. It's a deal usually offered to people with five or fewer months remaining on their current lease.

The pull ahead is generally advantageous to both the shopper and the seller. The lease holder can turn in a vehicle early with no penalty, allowing them to get in a different model of the same brand that meets any new needs or desires they may have. The program benefits automakers and dealers because it encourages people to stick with the same car brand, instead of shopping around, and keeps new car inventory moving off of the lots.

For example, if you had leased a previous-generation Ford Fusion for three years back in 2011, Ford might offer you a good deal on a new 2014 Fusion, which comes with an all-new design, technology and interior, a few months before your original 36-month lease on the old one is up.

"The great thing about the pull ahead for automotive consumers is the flexibility. These programs allow people to get in new vehicles that come with the latest technology and safety features much sooner without taking a financial hit, as the manufacturer waives the early termination payment," said Hall.

Automakers and dealers will also often offer very good rates on the new lease in order to further entice people to stay with the brand, Hall added.

Is a lease pull ahead for you?

Pull ahead programs are often a good option if you're already in a lease and you fit one or more of these criteria:

1. You want to stay in the same vehicle family. If you're happy with your current brand and don't feel the need to shop around, you can often get a great lease deal by taking advantage of a pull ahead program. Automakers want to keep customers from jumping ship and will give discounts in order to do so.

2. You like to lease. Leasing gets a bad rap from people who love to crunch numbers, since you're paying for something you don't actually own. But if you really like having a new car complete with the latest technology, design and features, it's a great thing to do. Not everyone wants to hold onto the same car for eight to ten years, after all.

3. You're ready for a new car now. Maybe you're family is growing and you need some more room or maybe you're just sick of your current ride. Regardless of the reason, pull-ahead programs allow you to cut your current lease short and get behind the wheel of something new.

Brands more aggressive than others

The top ten manufacturers Swapalease.com projects to be aggressive with pull ahead programs are Buick, Chevrolet, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Audi, Volkswagen, Infiniti, Toyota and Honda. These companies will offer especially tantalizing rates on new leases for customers taking part in the program.

That's not to say other brands won't have the programs. Hall said they will be keeping a close eye on brands that aren't traditionally big leasers, such as Chrysler and Jeep, to see if they hop on the trend.


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