Perhaps at least for a trio of nameplates, consumers are finding more attractive vehicle lease options via Swapalease.com than what franchised dealerships are presenting from captive finance companies.
According to its second quarter report, Swapalease.com indicated search traffic for three OEMs that book a significant volume of leases — Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota — jumped year-over-year by at least 20 percent.
Compared to the second quarter a year ago, Mercedes-Benz search traffic is up 29 percent, while Volkswagen is up 23 percent. And for Toyota, the jump is even higher at 35 percent.
Swapalease.com attributed much of this growth to an influx of shoppers seeking alternate options for lease deals since many OEMs have lowered incentives on new lease offerings.
“As a result, more consumers are searching to take over an existing lease deal through the Swapalease.com marketplace,” site official said.
Looking on a sequential comparison, the search-activity increases weren’t quite as dramatic. Swapalease.com reported that Infiniti led the way with a 9-percent rise in searches from Q1 to Q2. Other notable rises included Buick (up 6 percent), Volkswagen (up 6 percent) and Hyundai (up 5 percent).
Taking a search-activity tumble quarter-over-quarter by 13 percent included GMC, Lexus and Subaru.
BMW continues to lead all brands in total overall share of traffic on Swapalease.com, with 11 percent share of all activity. Mercedes-Benz is next with 8 percent, followed by Audi at 3 percent.
Lexus, which sustained that double-digit drop from the previous quarter, also saw its total overall share of traffic on the site fall to 2 percent, down from 3 percent the previous quarter.
Site officials added that several brands continue to see total overall search traffic metrics of less than 1 percent. That group includes badges such as Chrysler, Ram and Nissan.
Switching from what brand consumers are searching to what they’re paying, Swapalease.com indicated the average lease payment in the second quarter registered at $487.51 per month, down from $495.83 in the first quarter.
The report went on to mention the average months remaining on a contract rose during Q2 to 28.8, an indication that people are looking to escape their leases earlier in their contracts.
Conversely, the average miles remaining dropped slightly to 22,617 left in the contract, which shows people are driving more while they have their lease; perhaps due to the continued low price of fuel.
Swapalease.com added the average incentive offered to escape an existing lease fell slightly to $601.91, which is reflective of the rise of search traffic and the increased demand for lease takeover.
Swapalease.com executive vice president Scot Hall pointed out that sellers are finding more buying activity on the site and are less likely to offer a hefty incentive to escape their contract.
“As the trends show, leasing remains popular as an alternate form of finance, and shoppers will continue to seek the right deal that fits their automotive needs whether that’s on the showroom floor or through the secondary market where there is greater term flexibility,” Hall said.
Hall added that most people continue to lease an SUV (23.7 of deals), up noticeably from 19.5 percent during the first quarter. Conversely, midsize car drivers fell to 12.3 percent in Q2, down from 13.3 percent. The number of drivers with sports cars decreased, too, falling to 4.7 percent from 7.7 percent a year earlier.
What’s more, even though popular truck models are some of today’s best-selling vehicles at the dealership, Swapalease.com found only 3.5 percent of people say they’re leasing one, down from 4.2 percent in the first quarter.
The entire Q2 report from Swapalease.com can be downloaded here.