March lease-transfer approval improvement fuels overall Q1 boost


While at least in some places of the country the weather is improving, over at Swapalease.com, site officials are noticing an enhancement to lease-transfer approvals, too.

According to an update shared on Tuesday, Swapalease.com reported vehicle lease credit applicants registered a 67.3 percent approval rate in March, a rise from the February rate of 65.2 percent.

The site indicated March experienced a higher number of applicants with qualifications that led to more approvals for taking over another person’s lease contract during the month. Swapalease.com also pointed out March has statistically been a strong month for lease approval ratings, as 75 percent of lease applicants were also approved during the month of March last year.

This March showed a slightly lower number of lease applicants, yet a higher approval rating than the applicants for the month of February, according to the site’s analysis.

Since January, Swapalease.com highlighted the lease approval rate for the previous three months overall has registered in at 63.9 percent.  Lease approvals have been slowly increasing since January, after the month experienced an unusual decline in approvals, pushing the rate down to 57.8 percent.

 The approval rate was up again in February, and even higher into the month of March.

“The last three months have shown a little less volatility in the lease approvals rate, perhaps a sign of a higher concentration of lease shoppers with slightly stronger credit for taking over a lease,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president at Swapalease.com.

“It’s possible we’re beginning to see a little more overflow from dealerships where people with good credit are finding attractive offers on the Swapalease online marketplace as an alternate channel for lease shopping,” Hall went on to say.

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Recent incentives making SUV and truck leases more attractive


While compact cars continue to have the most affordable monthly lease payment, Wantalease.com is noticing that actions by automakers to keep trucks and SUVs attractive are spilling over into trends on its site.

Wantalease.com reported that the Nissan Sentra is currently priced the lowest of all vehicles, coming in at just $109 per month for the second consecutive month.  The Nissan Sentra is priced lower than the Honda Civic, which was the vehicle previously holding the lowest price for six months in a row at $149.

This past month, site officials noticed the Honda Civic increased in price by another 13.15 percent, bringing the monthly payment to $189.

While most vehicle prices have remained steady into April, Wantalease.com pointed out that OEMs and dealers have offered more aggressive lease pricing on mid-size and large SUVs, as well as small pickup and large pickup trucks. 

The vehicle that saw the largest price drop moving into the month of April was the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Double Cab with a 11.99 -percent decrease.  The vehicle is offered at $299 per month, followed by the Ford Expedition at $469 (down 10.57 percent), the GMC Canyon Crew Cab for $249 per month (down 9.10 percent), and the Ford Explorer at $349 per month (down 8.59 percent).

“We’re seeing an increase in aggressive pricing beginning to permeate across cars and trucks for lease deals,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Wantalease.com.

“With a slight pullback in new-vehicle sales, consumers will be increasingly on the hunt for aggressive deals on everything from small cars to large, luxury trucks and SUVs,” Hall added.

Wantalease.com went on to mention the vehicles with the largest increased monthly payment are the Chevrolet Cruze with a 12.47 percent increase, and the Chevrolet Malibu with a 10.18 percent increase in price from February. 

The Cruze is currently offered at $169 per month, while the Malibu is offered for $199.

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Swapalease explains surprising surge in lease-transfer approvals


While Equifax recently highlighted the depth of consumers opting to purchase an off-lease vehicle in greater numbers rather than leasing a new model, Swapalease.com pointed out that interest in taking over a vehicle lease contract is as strong as ever.

To reinforce the assessment, approvals for takeovers on the site jumped by more than 7 percent in February.

Swapalease reported on Wednesday that vehicle lease credit applicants registered a 65.2 percent approval rate in February, representing a rise from the January rate of 57.8 percent.

Site officials said that February saw a strong showing of applicants with qualified credentials to take over another person’s lease contract during the month. February also represented a strong month a year ago when 72.2 percent of lease applicants also were approved.

The company explained that what made this February’s numbers even more impressive was that the number of applicants was similar to the volume seen in January. Typically, a higher volume of applicants will usually signal a down month, as the larger pool of applicants includes a higher number of individuals with less than qualified credit to take over a lease.

During the last three months and dating back to December, site officials indicated the lease approval rate came in at 62.1 percent. Lease approvals have been relatively stable with the exception of January, when a higher number of declined applicants pushed the rate down to 57.8 percent.

Swapalease executive vice president Scot Hall theorized that one area of consideration could be that February saw a slightly higher-than-average number of vehicle shoppers applying for lease contracts on vehicles with payments under $499 per month.

“Despite slightly falling sales figures at the dealership, which has an impact on overall lease levels, the appetite to take over an existing lease is near all-time high levels based on the number of applicants we’ve processed over the last few months,” Hall said in a news release. 

“With prices still extremely high on new-vehicle offerings, and more consumers realizing lease transfer as an affordable way to customize your lease term, we expect our applicant level to remain healthy in the foreseeable future,” Hall said.

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2 challenges top of mind for global auto finance leaders


A new report recently released by White Clarke Group explored the most important global issues facing the auto finance industry.

Two challenges became clear when the firm reached out to top company executives.

White Clarke Group’s Global Auto and Equipment Finance Report 2018 revealed that industry executives rank digitalization as one of the most important issues on their agenda for this year.

The report indicated another key global trend that is dominating C-suite discussions is the impact of new legislation and policies, which are changing the competitive landscape for finance providers.

“Compliance and regulation sit at the heart of the finance market and the impact is being felt in every region of the world, ranging from fundamental changes to tax law in India, to new open banking rules in Europe and a more business-friendly approach to regulation in the U.S.,” White Clarke Group said.

“The industry is also having to adapt to growing risks, particularly when it comes to cyber-security and the growing complexity of defending operations from hackers, while simultaneously providing more open finance and banking services to consumers,” the firm added.

This report contains the views of more than 30 industry leaders with analysis covering North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

To obtain a full analysis of the outlook for 2018, download a copy of White Clarke Group’s Global Auto and Equipment Finance Report 2018 at.

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White Clarke Group highlights 5 trendsetters in annual Global Leasing Report


This week, White Clarke Group released its annual Global Leasing Report; a thorough guide to the world’s top 50 leasing markets.

Group chief executive officer and report author Brendan Gleeson highlighted that the newest installment revealed a “confident” industry outlook, with the top 50 countries in 2016 reporting growth in new business volume of 9.40 percent.

The United States led the way, rising from $1,005.30 billion in 2015 to $1,099.77 billion in 2016. The leasing industry has experienced significant growth and has introduced new and innovative ways to finance equipment for companies worldwide.

White Clark Group clarified that its report includes a lag in when global data becomes available, adding that 2017 information should be reviewed later this year.

Turning back to the report, Gleeson pointed out that within the top five largest leasing markets, the United States remains in first place. However, according to the Survey of Equipment Finance Activity (SEFA), the U.S. witnessed decelerated growth from 11.10 percent in 2015 to 2.54 percent in 2016 in new business volume.

China continued its rapid rise gaining on the U.S. as the second largest leasing market, up a massive 61.9 percent to $206 billion in 2016.

“The growth of the market has been remarkable and leasing is now seen as an important finance option in the domestic economy,” White Clarke Group said.

The United Kingdom and Germany are positioned as the third and fourth largest leasing markets in the world and remain the dominant players in Europe, accounting for 42 percent of the European market total.

In 2016, the UK industry captured $81.77 billion of new business registering a significant growth rate of 8.98 percent in 2016 as compared with the previous year amid challenging economic conditions over the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiations.

The report indicated Germany registered positive growth of 3.42 percent in comparison to 2015 and with new business volume of $64.3 billion.

White Clarke Group went on to note that Japan experienced a small decrease in lease transaction volume in 2016 with a dip of 1.3 percent. However, Japan still remains the second largest market in Asia behind China.

“The year 2016 has brought significant socioeconomic events, namely Brexit negotiations and tense political situations over the world,” Gleeson said. “It is quite early to assess how these markets will react to these events, however the tone for 2017 figures is currently optimistic regardless of such instabilities in international economies.”

White Clarke discussed the report further in a video at through the window at the top of this page. The entire report .

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Nissan bumps out Honda as cheapest payment offer on Wantalease.com


A different compact car now holds the mantle as providing the lowest monthly payment available through Wantalease.com.

Site officials recently shared their February data and found that the Nissan Sentra now is priced lower than the Honda Civic; the vehicle previously holding the lowest price for the past six months. Consumers using Wanatalease.com now can secure a Sentra for $109 per month.

The monthly payment for a Civic held steady at $149 for a span, but then the unit jumped in price by 9.17 percent in January to land at $169.

While most vehicle lease prices have remained steady into February, Wantalease.com pointed out that dealers have offered discounts on luxury cars and SUVs to continue spurring interest in lease deals. 

Two luxury cars and one luxury SUV have seen discounts lowering their monthly payments by $30 this February. The Audi A6 and BMW 530i both reflected the decrease in payment, as well as the Infiniti XQ80 SUV.

“We’re seeing an increase in discounts and aggressive pricing beginning to permeate across cars and trucks for lease deals,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Wantalease.com.

“With a slight pullback in new-vehicle sales, consumers will be increasingly on the hunt for aggressive deals on everything from small cars to large, luxury trucks and SUVs,” Hall added.

Site officials went on to mention the vehicle that saw the largest price drop in February was the Nissan Frontier with a 16.80-percent decrease.  The truck now is offered at $209 per month, down from $269 in January.

The vehicles with the largest increased monthly payment included the Nissan Pathfinder (up 19.61 percent) and the Ford Expedition (up 11.82 percent). The Pathfinder is currently offered at $279 per month, while the Expedition is offered for $555.

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As search traffic by brand changes, No. 1 reason for lease transfer remains constant


Along with more discussion about how holiday marketing campaigns impact search activity, Swapalease.com released its quarterly lease trends report examining data from the fourth quarter of 2017.

To go with brand trends, site analysts also determined the No. 1 reason why consumers want to change their vehicle lease situation remained the same as each of the past two years closed. As dealerships and finance companies might imagine, consumers told Swapalease that an income change triggered their site usage.

The amount of consumers citing income change stood at 37.0 percent in Q4, according to the report. That’s down from 40.4 percent a year earlier.

However, income changes still topped the other reasons noted in the report, including vehicle type change (35.5 percent), brand change (26.0 percent), no longer driving the vehicle (16.2 percent), location change (14.0 percent) and change in family size (8.7 percent).

As Swapalease mentioned, changes in brand or segment preferences often triggers a lease holder to want a different vehicle.

When they decide to start the process, analysts found that search traffic for today’s brands remained fairly stable and consistent with that of Q4 2016 metrics for most brands,

Luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Infiniti each generated increases to close out the year while RAM saw a significant spike of more than 290 percent from Q4 of 2016.

Along with that whopping jump for RAM that came versus a low comparison, the report highlighted notable quarterly site traffic increases for several brands, including:

— Toyota: up 29 percent
— Mercedes Benz: up 18 percent
— BMW: up 13 percent
— Infiniti: up 13 percent

GMC, Subaru and Cadillac saw the smallest growth in search traffic, with 5 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, a half dozen brands watched their Q4 search traffic drop by at least 10 percent. The report noted:

— Chrysler: down 10 percent
— Nissan: down 10 percent
— Honda: down 13 percent
— Acura: down 18 percent
— Buick: down 19 percent
— Hyundai: down 32 percent

In comparison to Q3, most brands saw similar overall search traffic share on the site. 

BMW holds the top spot as the brand with the largest overall traffic on Swapalease.com at 12 percent, followed by Mercedes-Benz collecting 8 percent of the total search traffic during the quarter. 

Even though RAM saw the largest jump in search traffic during the quarter, it still only represents 1 percent of the overall traffic on Swapalease.com.

Turning back to the financial component, the report indicated the average monthly payment on a lease stood at $485.47 in Q4; a slight increase from the Q3 reading of $484.79.

Mercedes-Benz is currently the most expensive brand to lease through this website with an average monthly payment of $784. 

Conversely, Volkswagen is the most inexpensive brand to lease with an average monthly payment of $324, followed by Buick at $335, and Honda at $338.

“It’s no surprise that leasing remains healthy and viable as a sales alternative for dealers and consumers,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.

“It was a little surprising to see a few more people interested in changing to another brand, and interested in changing their vehicle type, which might be a reflection of the confidence the economy continues to instill in consumers,” Hall continued.

The entire Q4 lease report .

Hall also discussed how leasing is tied interest rates set by the Federal Reserve during a recent episode of the AuSM Podcast. The conversation can be heard below.


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Car lease concierge service raises $3.5M in initial funding


Online auto lease concierge service Carlease has raised $3.5 million in an initial funding round led by venture capital firm Lightbank, along with a group of auto industry veterans that includes Mitch Golub, Kayne Grau and Justin Mahlik.

Golub is the former president of Cars.com, while Grau (also a former Cars.com executive) and Mahlik are the co-founders of DRIVIN.

Chicago-based Carlease is led by chief executive officer Andy O’Dower, who is the former director of product at Cars.com and the former chief product officer at Curiosity.com.

Carlease provides consumers with a single-point-of- experience to lease a vehicle that is delivered to their door. The company partners with dealers to complete the transaction.

“Leases now account for nearly one-third of all new-vehicle sales, with those percentages going up significantly across luxury makes and with millennial buyers,” O’Dower said in a news release.

“Leases are gaining popularity for a variety of reasons, including rapid advancements in automotive technology, and shoppers are looking for a convenient, one-stop shop to help them navigate the leasing process and quickly get into their next car,” he said. “At Carlease, we are motivated to help our customers get the lease offer and terms that best meet their needs while delivering concierge-level service that takes the time and stress out of new car shopping.”

A new platform from the company allows consumers to search the latest models by any feature set. The shopper is ed with 24 hours by a Carlease expect, who shares multiple lease offers with the customer. The Carlease expert takes care of approval of the deal, trade-in and vehicle delivery to the shopper’s home or office. The vehicle itself comes from a dealership.

Victor Pascucci III, managing partner of Lightbank, said in a news release: “Carlease’s unique, independent model capitalizes on the trends happening within the automotive industry, saving consumers time and money while increasing transaction opportunities for partner dealerships.

“With leasing numbers steadily increasing and luxury brands reporting that leases account for as high as 65 percent of total new-car transactions, now is the time for a better nationwide platform that makes finding leases simple, straightforward and convenient for consumers.”

Lightbank partner Bill Pescatello added: “We have a history of driving successful businesses within the automotive and consumer sectors. Carlease is the right combination of deep product and technology expertise, combined with a massive, growing market demand. We are thrilled to add Carlease to our portfolio.”

Among the other auto-related companies in that portfolio is DRIVIN, which was acquired by KAR Auction Services in 2017.

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Podcast: Scot Hall of Swapalease.com

CARY, N.C. - 

Industry experts like Swapalease.com executive vice president Scot Hall are trying to get a handle on the used-vehicle market — a segment that will be influenced by interest rates expected to continually increase in 2018, despite the recent stock market sell-off, and wholesale prices continuing to fall this year, mostly due to rising supply.

Sharing additional insights with Nick for the AuSM Podcast about a recent project Swapalease.com orchestrated, Hall dissected how rising interest rates and falling residuals may impact payments of potential vehicle-lease customers arriving at your dealership or applying for financing through your institution.

Swapalease conducted an analysis taking into account a typical vehicle with an MSRP of $35,000.

Here are the assumptions:

— Term: 36-month lease
— Residual: 49 percent
— Interest rate: 4.00 percent
— Monthly payment: $604.83

Here are the breakdowns at varying interest rate levels, as well as a residual rate of 49 percent and 50 percent:

Residual Money
 50%   3.00%  $573.51
 50%  3.25%  $579.05
 50%  3.50%  $584.60
 50%  3.75%  $590.15
 50%  4.00%  $595.69
 49%  3.00%  $582.79
 49%  3.25%  $588.30
 49%  3.50%  $593.81
 49%  3.75%  $599.32
 49%  4.00%  $604.83


Hall described these figures in more detail in the conversation available below.

Download and subscribe to the AuSM Podcast on  or on . 

You can also listen to the latest episode in the window below.

All episodes can be found on our  or by visiting ausm.info/ar-podcast.

Please complete ; we appreciate your back on the show!


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Holiday luxury model promos result in softer January lease-transfer approvals


Those holiday ads for vehicles — especially for luxury models — evidently stimulated activity not only at dealerships, but also at Swapalease.com.

While stores might have moved some extra metal that was a gift, the site's lease-transfer approval rating took a tumble in January.

Swapalease.com reported that vehicle lease credit applicants registered a 57.8-percent approval rate in January, down from 62.0% in December.

While the rate slipped on a sequential basis, January’s reading was higher than a year earlier as the opening month of 2017 produced a 50-percent approval mark.

Site officials explained some of the reason for the lower-than-normal approval rate can be attributed to the higher-than-average number of applicants registered in January. With holiday promotions and strong emphasis on luxury lease offers typically signaling heavy applicant volume in December, the marketplace saw a continuation of high volume applicants opening the New Year in January.

With this higher volume comes a variety of credit histories, including more applicants with less-than-stellar credit approved by the banks, according to Swapalease.com.

During the past three months and dating back to November, the lease approval rate has come in at  62.2 percent. The majority of applicants are interested in taking over leases in the mid- to high-end luxury categories, including higher-end SUVs. These vehicles come with an average monthly payment of $499 or higher.

“We’re continuing to see a healthy consumer appetite in taking over existing leases in the online marketplace, and a large number of these interested parties feel confident in the monthly payments they’re willing to take on,” said Scot Hall, Executive Vice President of Swapalease.com.

“The banks and lease companies have remained firm in their criteria for approvals, which is why we continue to see a slightly higher number of those still not being approved,” Hall continued.

“Credit profile remains extremely important when applying for a lease across any segment or type,” he went on to say.

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