Question: How should I handle my lease return and get a new lease?

I just got this question about what happens when you return a leased car for a new leased car using the same leasing company:

Hello Markus,

I was hoping to get some useful advice regarding a lease return.

I’m currently in the 3rd year of my 3 year lease through Chrysler Capital. I have 6 payments remaining (about $2000). I’m located in Southern Ca.

I’m looking to upgrade into a 2018 of the same make and model. The lease quote I received is:

MSRP: 43,290

SALE PRICE: 38,450
LEASE REBATES: -3,250

ADJUSTED SALE PRICE: 35,200

36 MONTHS; 12K MILES PER YEAR; TOTAL OUT OF POCKET: 1,000

MONTHLY PAYMENT: 450.13 PLUS TAX = 492.89/MONTH

I haven’t yet informed the dealer about my lease return. What’s the best way to ask the dealer for a buyout without being taken advantage of?

What about my current tags, they don’t expire until June 2018, why can’t I keep my tags and save on registration fees?

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Let’s see how good I am based on your limited information:

I am guessing you are looking to get into a new 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L minivan.

One of my clients got the exact same Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L at $356 monthly – $0 cash down. This includes everything – including tax. (Exception: he leased a 2017 mid-year model. And there is little difference between mid-year and all new… an upgraded sound system and badging.)

So at $492.89 monthly, you are going to pay close to $5,000.00 more than you have to.

About the lease return (and seeing if you have lease equity)…

Remember, any new (or used) car dealer can buy out our lease and pay us the difference in cash. If their offer is less than the buyout amount, we turn in the car. But if it is more, we get a check for the difference.

I teach my clients to shop for the best offer and use it as leverage when we get a new lease.

About the registration – leases are treated differently than ownership. With a lease, the car is registered with the leasing company, not us…

But:

If we get out of a lease and into a new lease using the same leasing company, we MIGHT be able to have them transfer the registration at no charge.

Me… personally… I would not worry about this. I would much rather save thousands of dollars on the final lease payment than worry about the relatively tiny savings of 6 months remaining on the registration fee.