General Motors Welcomes Back Leasing Sort Of

GMAC LLC tiptoes back into leasing, a decision that should help beleaguered General Motors Co. We're excited about it, says GM's U.S. sales chief Mark LaNeve. (But) we don't want to go back to where we're using low payments to drive volume. It's a tool for the percentage of customers that want a new vehicle every three, three-and-a-half years. LaNeve estimates GMAC's decision last year to exit leasing

GMAC LLC tiptoes back into leasing, a decision that should help beleaguered General Motors Co.

“We're excited about it,” says GM's U.S. sales chief Mark LaNeve. “(But) we don't want to go back to where we're using low payments to drive volume. It's a tool for the percentage of customers that want a new vehicle every three, three-and-a-half years.”

LaNeve estimates GMAC's decision last year to exit leasing as access to capital dwindled after the collapse of the financial markets has cost the auto maker between one and two share points.

Says GMAC President Bill Muir: “GMAC's increased funding flexibility, the completion of key manufacturer restructurings and rising used car values have made leasing a viable financing option.

“We will support a lease promotion by General Motors in 45 states, and may add a leasing option for other makes or models in the future,” Muir says in a statement.

“While we do not expect leasing to return to its hey-day levels across all models, it remains an attractive financing tool for certain segments, particularly new-launch vehicles and select models in the luxury market.”

GMAC, which like GM is majority-owned by the U.S. Department of Treasury, will offer the lease on '09 models of the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Malibu and Chevy Traverse, as well as '10 models of the Buick Enclave and LaCrosse, Chevy Equinox and GMC Acadia.

Ohio, Michigan, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are excluded from the program, because GMAC already offers a program in those markets.

LaNeve estimates leasing accounts for between 12% and 15% of the new-vehicle market.

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