Once the darling of auto consumerism, and then just as quickly falling from grace, leasing is starting to make a comeback and the latest to get into the game is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
FCA Canada has partnered up with Markham, Ontario-based SCI Lease Corp. to offer lease options to allow purchasers of all FCA vehicles to drive a new vehicle every two to five years, depending on contracts. The program will roll out as a pilot project in southern Ontario before going nationwide for 2016.
“We developed a great relationship with SCI Lease Corp. and feel with their expertise it’s the right time to re-enter the leasing market,” said Dave Buckingham, chief operating officer at FCA Canada. “Our program is about affordability and offering customers exceptional value with a choice of payment options that makes sense to them.”
FCA Canada has never had a lease program in Canada, as leasing ended with the former Chrysler Financial Canada in the aftermath of the economic downturn of 2009.
“Leasing provides consumers and dealers with a great new addition to FCA Canada’s current financing options available in the marketplace,” said Alan Bird, president and chief executive leader for SCI Lease Corp. “We are looking forward to supporting FCA Canada in maintaining their sales success in the Canadian market.”
After the recession of 2009, auto companies backed away from leasing programs in Canada. General Motors restored the option to buyer of Buick and Cadillac vehicles in the fall of 2010, and for Chevrolet and GMC in spring 2011. Many took that as a positive sign that the company was recovering from the financial crisis that nearly brought about its downfall.
Popular through the turn of the century, auto leasing slipped to just nine percent of all new purchase financing in 2009 but had bounced back to 20 percent by the middle of 2014. Still that is well off the pace of about 45 percent at its peak in 2005.
Luxury vehicle leases remain the most popular, as buyers can get into more upscale models for lower monthly payments, though leasing is regarded as the most costly way to finance a new car purchase.