Quick question

Will leasing reach 30 percent of sales within the next two years?

Richard Howse, vice president of marketing and business development, VW Credit Inc.: "We're already well over 30 percent. Industrywide, the trends are all favorable. So I think yes."

Chris Weiss, Crest Auto World in North Conway, N.H.: "Leasing will be not only 30 percent of the business but more. The price of a reasonably well-equipped 4x4 pickup is now around $40k, and people can't afford that as a retail buy. They would much rather have a $300-$350 monthly payment. Soon, the price of the vehicle is going to be irrelevant, and the only issue is going to be payment. My fear is that all of a sudden, all these leased vehicles are going to be coming onto the used market, and the demand isn't going to be there, thus residuals will drop. If I was a manufacturer, I would have my finance arm create a certified pre-owned lease product to keep my residuals up."

Pete Turek, automotive vice president in the financial services business unit, TransUnion, Chicago: "Yes. Based on the number of originations in the last quarter, I absolutely expect we will get closer. It certainly is getting there. When you can get more car, more technology by leasing for the same monthly payment than you can on a loan, I see leasing continuing to grow."

Jason Grohotolski, senior analyst, Financial Institutions Group, Moody's Investors Service: "I could see 30 percent. But I think once you get into that area, you see fairly high residual value exposure. I think the effect of declining gas prices is temporary. How long it will last, I don't know, but if the industry starts believing that's the norm, and setting residual values that way, that could be problematic."

Tony Dupaquier, director of F&I training, Automotive Training Academy, American Financial & Automotive Services: "Leasing goes in cycles. The manufacturers go crazy with incentives, and they offer these low monthly payments, and, 'Hey, I'm in! I'm a lease customer, and I got this crazy monthly payment.' In 2015, I think leasing will hit a peak, and then residual values will start to go down, and leasing will go down."

Melinda Zabritski, senior director, Experian Automotive: "I really don't think so. I could see it at maybe 26 percent for a while. I don't think the manufacturers want to go there [to 30 percent]. I think that would be too aggressive for the market, and I don't see them doing that."

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