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Auto leasing at record high

Posted on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 10:22:18 AM

The auto industry's 2015 outlook continues to improve. New-vehicle sales didn't stop climbing in November, according to Kelley Blue Book, with transaction prices hitting an average of $33,801 as trucks and SUVs proved very popular once again. New-car prices have climbed by 0.7 percent, or $231, from November 2014.

"While average transaction prices are up again in November, the rate of growth was modest at less than 1 percent, which stands in contrast to the 2 to 3 percent increases seen so far this year," said Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book's senior analyst.

Rising transaction prices are being driven by consumers eager to employ auto financing. New-vehicle leasing - at one time used almost exclusively for luxury cars - now makes up about 27 percent of all transactions, according to Experian Automotive's third quarter State of the Automotive Finance Market report. A year ago the share stood at 24.7 percent. A sign of how far things have come is the difference between new-vehicle leasing in 2009, when it wallowed at around 12 percent, and now.

Melinda Zabritski, Experian's senior director of automotive finance, said that "As the price for a new or used vehicle continues to rise, leasing has become a more viable financing option for consumers looking to maintain an affordable monthly payment."