LOS ANGELES -- Toyota is seeing a strong shift into two-year leases this year, a trend that promises quicker customer turnarounds and fuller used-car inventories down the road.
At Toyota Financial Services, leases spanning 27 months or less account for 17 percent of its lease portfolio so far this year. That's nearly five times last year's rate of 4 percent. For Lexus specifically, two-year leases have risen to 36 percent of the division's lease portfolio this year from 24 percent in 2013.
This shift comes as Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. leans more heavily on leasing to move Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles.
Chrysler, too, has had a higher share of two-year leases this year, while Ford and Nissan are seeing a swing away from shorter terms.
As a result, the industry penetration of under-27-month leases remains relatively static -- at about 9 percent of all leases, according to TrueCar data on captive and third-party lease deals -- while three- and four-year leases remain the norm.
Periodic shifts between shorter and longer lease periods are common, depending on factors such as interest rates, product cycles, residual values and used-car supplies. Short-term leases act as a counterweight to the current trend toward longer loan terms by bringing customers back to the market more often.