My guess is that they use the history of the brand in combination with the type of car to estimate a residual (which for the Elise would be significantly low) and then factor in their own goals for what they want to do with the car.
Early leases may see a high residual value with a high multiplier to avert end-of-lease purchase / quick sale for a quick buck. This doesn't really make your payment lower, it just means you're paying more to interest and less to depreciation.
Personally, I would only lease the car if there was no penalty for early payoff. That way, if it's in your best interest to sell the car in a year (because of an unexpected market shift for the better or the worse), you're not bound to it for 2 or 3 more years.
Thanks for your insight on this. I suppose I'll just "wait and see". I'm sure the data will start coming out once the cars hit the shores. I'm down at #40 on my dealer's list, so it could be a while...
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