Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described lease penetration data. The story should have said the data was for new vehicles retailed. The graphic attached to the story contained the same error.
Leasing has accounted for a quarter of new-vehicle sales for more than a year. That might imply stability, but industry watchers say leasing penetration deserves close monitoring.
With new-vehicle prices going up, many consumers lean toward leasing because they cannot afford new vehicles. Although there are many positive aspects to leasing, a level that's too high could negatively affect the market as a whole, concerned observers say. Dealers, manufacturers and lenders all must play a part in maintaining the balance needed to sustain a healthy overall market, those observers add.
"We need to maintain balance and don't want to artificially boost demand through leasing," Bruce Clark, senior vice president for Moody's Investors Service's corporate finance group, told Automotive News.