I felt this deserved its own forum, so my apologies to Volker.Berlin, Brian H., et al. While perusing a vintage car/auction magazine, I read an advertisement from Premier Financial Services. PFS specializes in leasing vintage, exotic, and luxury automobiles. I inquired if they would lease a 2013 Model S – 36/48/60 months. My “S” has an MSRP of $76,820 (w/o rebates). I also mentioned I put $5K deposit down. My contact at PFS is Juan Garcia and he is the West Coast Sales Manager. . Here are the numbers.

36 months / $5,099.11 down/monthly payments of $1,636/purchase option $30K.
48 months / $5,000 down/monthly payments $1,380 / purchase option $25K
60 months / $5,000 down/monthly payments of $ 1,217 /purchase option $20K

The interest rate is 5.59% for 36 months, 5.97% for 48 and 5.99% for 60. There are two problems: no Federal rebates on leasing and a low residual. When you lease a car from a major manufacture, they subsidize the rate, etc. to make leasing attractive. PFS is the first leasing company I spoke to that said yes. Losing the rebate is very painful (too painful for me), the low residual makes for higher monthly payments but you will get that back in the end when you lease purchase and resell.

Not ideal, but a first step. It won't work for me but do you think?

Sudre_ | 16 november 2012

I think paying about $63,000 for a 76K car then still having to pay 30K is too high for me. (36 month plan)
The 60 month plan you would be paying more in the lease than the car is worth new and then still having to spend 20K to purchase.

In either case you come out ahead to just get a loan with current interest rates between 1.49% and 4%.

jat | 16 november 2012

Personally, I think there is no point in doing a lease if you expect to lose tons of money unless you take the purchase option at the end (exceptions being if you have a company doing the lease or if you want to buy "insurance" that the car won't be worth what you think it will be, so you can just walk away from it at the end of the lease). I understand why the leasing company is setting the residual so low, since this is a brand new type of car from a brand new company, they don't really have much idea what the resale value will be in the future. However, if you pay $63k in lease fees and at the end of the 3 years the car is still worth $40k, then you effectively lose lots of money unless you take the purchase option. If you are going to do that anyway, then why don't you just buy it up front and get a much better interest rate?

On the tax credit, the leasing company will get that tax credit so you should basically count that as part of the cost you are paying in leasing payments -- that makes the resale value they are calculating this on even more low-ball (plus they get that money up front, rather than at the end, so you have cost of money considerations as well).

The LEAF and Volt both have very attractive leasing options right now, but I am sure those are being underwritten by the manufacturer in some way -- Tesla isn't in a position to do that.

Brian H | 16 november 2012

Neither are Nissan and GM, really.

And Acura was hoping battery prices would drop about 50% in 3 yrs. when it began its e-tron planning, but it didn't happen. GM has a big idle (including staff) LG Battery plant waiting for Volt demand to pick up and costs to drop. I think Tesla is the only firm even close to making money on BEVs. Even Toyota, with TM's help, doesn't believe it can do so.