Sunday, July 27, 2008

SUV Leases

Another industry problem.

Auto executives just can't catch a break. Add to slumping sales and lofty gasoline prices a ticking time bomb in their auto leasing operations. During the past several years automakers from General Motors (GM) to Nissan Motor (NSANY) to BMW leased millions of cars and trucks. As those leases end, the companies have to take back the vehicles—many of them the gas-guzzling SUVs, pickups, and luxury models people don't want anymore. You know what that means: more pain as the automakers offload those vehicles at a loss.
Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research, estimates that this year alone the industry will lose $4.7 billion on sales of previously leased SUVs. "This caught everyone by surprise," he says. And it's a problem that will keep on giving because many automakers only recently started to write fewer leases. So there are plenty of newly leased gas-guzzlers out there, some with terms as long as 39 months. Spinella sees $10 billion more in lost value as thousands more SUVs come off lease in 2009 and 2010.