Pickup truck leases on the rise

  • Image Credit: Ford
This year looks to be a bonanza for pickup fans thanks to the launch of new models like the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Titan, plus upcoming variants like the Ram 1500 Rebel and diesel engines for the Colorado/ Canyon twins. While none of these vehicles are on showrooms yet, buyers are already causing a boom in the segment, and truck lease rates are going through the roof.

Fourteen percent of pickups were leased in 2014, compared to below three percent in 2010, according to Automotive News citing J.D Power data. While that expansion is massive, trucks still slightly lag the industry lease average of 20 percent of vehicles.

For automakers and dealers, leasing can be a double-edged sword. On one side, additional sales are always welcome. On the other, the companies need to predict residual values just right to make a profit, and showrooms still have to sell the trucks when they come back. Right now, there's a boost thanks to the strong resale that's expected from the latest trucks and peaking used car prices. Growing pre-owned inventory is predicted to possibly change that picture as soon as later this year, however.

"It's nice upside, but we're not building our strategy around it," Duncan Aldred, Buick and GMC boss, said about truck leasing to Automotive News.

From a buyer's perspective, the upside of leasing is fairly easy to understand. Thanks to cutting-edge tech and more luxurious interiors, pickup transaction prices are on the rise. As opposed to buying, this alternative offers customers a lower monthly payment and lets them turn the model in to get the latest gadgets three or four years down the line. We'll see how it all plays out for both sides over the next few years.

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