DETROIT - New vehicles - and better residuals - should jump-start leasing at Ford Motor Co.
Ford Motor Credit Co. Chairman Michael Bannister says he expects Ford Credit's retail leasing business to increase modestly in 2005.
Through September, leasing represented about 11 percent of Ford Credit's Ford, Lincoln and Mercury retail volume in North America. Ford Credit hasn't set a 2005 goal for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. But for all brands in North America, leasing should be about 15 percent of retail volume in 2005, Bannister says.
Leasing hit a high in 2000, when it represented 21.5 percent of retail volume for the three brands in North America.
New vehicles such as the 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan and 2005 Ford Freestyle sport wagon are driving the higher expectations.
The Five Hundred and Freestyle replace some of the volume of the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, which "haven't held their residuals," he says.
Automotive Lease Guide issued a residual value of 47 percent after 36 months for the base model of the Five Hundred, Ford spokesman David Reuter says. That's a marked improvement over Automotive Lease Guide's residual values of about 30 percent for the Taurus. The guide's residual for a base Freestyle is 48 percent.