The off-leasing of cars on a lease agreement has long been a controversial practice, with some owners claiming they are owed thousands of dollars for a car that has been in their possession for more than a year.
But with a growing number of automakers and their lease leasing partners turning to this method of off-limiting a vehicle, the practice has begun to gain popularity.
“In the past, I would never say that a car was being used for a lease because I would assume that the car was going to be kept in the same condition it was when I bought it,” said Jodi Ruggiero, a California resident who leases her new Toyota Camry from Ford.
“But now people are beginning to understand that it is really not a bad idea to be off-leasing a car and have a longer term lease on it.”
A study from the University of California at Davis found that nearly three-quarters of leases in which the car is off-loaded are on-lease cars, while another study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that off-label leasing of leased vehicles increased from 1.9 percent in 2013 to 2.3 percent in 2017.
In the United States, there are now more than 1.2 million off-licensing leases on the books, according to the National Association of Leasing Administrators.
There are no hard statistics on how many vehicles are being sold off-let, but a 2016 study by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen found that the number of off license cars had grown by 8 percent from 2013 to 2017.
A 2017 report by the consumer group Consumers Union estimated that 3.5 million off lease vehicles were off-tailing, with many of these vehicles being used to lease older cars.
Off-lease leases are not limited to vehicles sold to individuals, and many car manufacturers offer off lease options for their own customers.
According to Public Citizen, Ford, which has a total of 1.8 million vehicles off-line, said it has been working to ensure that its cars are safe and have the best possible conditions when they are off.
“If there is an accident, we are on top of it,” Ford said in a statement.
“Our goal is always to make sure our vehicles are operating in a safe manner and at maximum performance.”
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