Can an old lease car ride again?

It used to be that a car leasing deal went like this: You plunk down cash up front, and then you pay a monthly payment that is increasing over the life of the contract. Well, those days may be behind us now that many dealerships are offering lease renewals to current customers at slightly reduced rates.

“I think it could be an opportunity for a loyal consumer, even a nostalgic one, to go back into the lease,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and author of Strategic Genius: The Path to Success in Business and Life.

Mr. Gordon said that new car leases will often start at higher prices (because new models start at a higher price) but noted that recent discounts are about half of the average old lease price.

Leasing can be a smart move if a current buyer is unsure whether they will buy a new car in a few years and is not sure whether they need or want a pickup truck. What’s more, manufacturers have made big investments in electric vehicles, reducing the risks they must assume if the vehicles fail.

Plus, Mr. Gordon said, new leases aren’t onerous. “We don’t see overwhelming renewal fees or huge re-purchase costs,” he said. “That is really our take on it.”

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