When it comes to leasing, American Honda’s captive finance arm is the champ as it got over 16% of all new-vehicle lease transactions industrywide in the first quarter. Experian Automotive said that American Honda Finance lease deals had the biggest share. It was trailed by Toyota Financial Services, Ford Motor Credit and Nissan Infiniti Financial, which owned about an 11% share each of the leasing market.
Melinda Zabritski, Experian's director of automotive credit, said that Honda has been able to highlight its leasing products better. As the economy improves, leasing would get a bigger part of the finance portfolios of more automakers. LeaseTrader.com expects that by 2020, leasing would capture up to 40% of the new-vehicle market, from just 10% during the worse parts of the recession.
Edmunds.com said that leasing made up 21% of all transactions in the first quarter of 2012, about 24% lower than in the first quarter of 2011. Eric Lyman, vice president of residual value solutions for Automotive Lease Guide, said that Honda increased its share by being persistent with its commitment to leasing even as it felt the impact of the Japanese calamity in March 2011 and the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008.
He said that there would always be consumers that prefer to lease. Honda dealer Art Wright said that Honda has sold the concept of owner retention over the long haul with highly competitive programs in the market.
Charles Aiesi, senior manager for sales for American Honda Motor, said that loyalty is improved when the company uses data-mining techniques to keep in contact with customers during the entire lease period.
In addition, Honda provides perks to loyal customers upon the ending of the lease, like a no lease-termination fee and some flexibility in voiding charges for minor dents and dings. Honda ranked No. 4 when it came to retail leasing satisfaction, according to the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates dealer financing satisfaction survey. It was followed by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Ford. [source: Autonews]