Right now, it’s unlikely you’re heading into a car dealership to buy or lease anything. Even if you desperately need a new vehicle, you’re more likely to be negotiating over the phone (or online) and having the dealership deliver. Such is reality on Planet COVID-19.

But remote transactions put power in the hands of the customer. High-pressure sales tactics don’t hit the same way electronically, and you have a magic computing box full of information in front of you all the time. Also, you don’t have to wear pants.

Right now, dealers have huge inventories and aren’t selling much of anything. They need to make sales happen—and a lease is a sale.

The leases here are manufacturer backed. And in the current situation, they’re only a start. Ask for the purchase price embedded inside each lease to drop. A little? No, a lot. This is where the negotiation starts. Maybe the dealership will eat some of their usual charges. When hard-nosed dealers are on the ropes, the strategy should be to keep punching.

Also, seek out additional deals that may save a few bucks. Right now, Costco Auto (www.costcoauto.com), in a deal with Honda, is offering $500 Costco gift cards for Costco members who acquire a new Odyssey minivan or Pilot crossover. Check with your credit union, and any other organizations you may belong to, and see if they deals that might knock a few extra bucks off the price of your next new vehicle.

There’s no substitute for the hard work of research when it comes to getting the best deal—no matter what vehicle segment you’re shopping in.

Negotiate, Negotiate

The cost of a lease is rather straightforward. You (the lessee) pay for the depreciation of the vehicle over the lease term and the cost of the money the lessor is using to purchase the vehicle, plus fees including security deposits, acquisition fees, disposition charges, and anything else the creative accountants can come up with. Basically, you pay some of the capital costs and fees up front in the form of your initial payment and then a monthly charge that varies with expense and depreciation.

Always shop for the total cost of the vehicle, don’t negotiate on the basis of monthly payments, and never be afraid to ask for a little more sugar to sweeten the deal.

Hyundai

$79 per month, 14 cents per mile

Last month’s jaw-dropper, this $79-a-month lease on the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric in the New York City area, has been renewed for another month. After only $999 at signing, it’s only $79 a month to drive one of these littler zappers. It’s a three-year/30,000-mile lease, but that may be enough for a car that knocks around town running errands. Other regions get similar deals that aren’t quite as cheap—like $109 per month after $2500 at signing in many other markets. The slightly tweaked 2020 version of the Ioniq Electric is also available, but at monthly payments over $200. Offer ends June 1.


GMC

$354 per month, 42 cents per mile

GMC has gotten the zero-down bug. It’s now promoting both the Canyon mid-size and Sierra full-size pickups with no-money-at-signing offers. However, you do need to be a returning lessee. And depending on region, the featured trucks can be equipped differently. The Canyon is offered as an SLE crew cab model with two-wheel drive in Michigan on a 36-month/30,000-mile lease for only $354 per month. Meanwhile, in the New York area it’s a similar truck but with four-wheel drive for $412 per month. The various zero-down deals seem to be offered nationwide, and all have disposition fees that can run up to $495 at lease end. Offer ends June 1.

GMC

$419 per month, 50 cents per mile

The Denali is GMC’s luxury pickup, and it’s available this month in deals with no money due at signing. And for a high-end pickup, $419 a month is dang cheap. This lease deal is offered in the Chicago area and runs for 39 months/32,500 miles with additional miles at 25 cents each. And it’s for a 4×4! Similar deals are offered in other regions, with most featuring two-wheel-drive trucks. Offer ends June 1.

Hyundai

$299 per month, 53 cents per mile

The large Palisade crossover has planted Hyundai firmly in the mainstream, three-row hammock of profits. This $299-per-month lease is offered in the New York City area on a front-drive Palisade. The lease takes $4999 at signing and runs 36 months and 30,000 miles, with additional miles at 20 cents each. The deal offered in Southern California goes off at $339 per month over the same 36 months or 30,000 miles but only needs $3499 at signing. Do the math, and the SoCal deal works out to being $100 cheaper over the life of the lease. Offer ends June 1.

Kia

$299 per month, 40 cents per mile

Everyone knows the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are the same basic vehicle with different costuming. It’s a matter of taste as to which is better. But when it comes to leasing, the Kia is cheaper. In New York City, the Telluride LX with front-wheel drive is offered at $299 per month after $3499 at signing on either a two-year or three-year lease with 12,000 miles per year included. The three-year deal works out to a reasonable 40 cents per mile. Prefer all-wheel drive? Add 20 bucks a month. Similar deals, at slightly different rates, are being advertised for other regions. Offer ends June 1.

Mazda

$179 per month, 25 cents per mile

Small sedans don’t come more sweet-natured than the Mazda 3. And Mazda’s featured leases on this great little car (call it the GLC—you have to be very old to catch that reference), is $179 per month after $2499 at signing on a three-year/36,000-mile agreement. That’s for Southern California and many other areas. In the New York City area, the deal is the same but runs $199 per month. So there’s one more reason to move to Southern California. Offer ends June 1.

Porsche

$1279 per month, $1.78 per mile

It’s the 911 coupe on a featured lease for three years/30,000 miles. And it’s only $1279 per month after $8169 at signing. That’s not exactly cheap, but it’s also not unreasonable. Which is the same as saying it’s reasonable. And that’s because it’s the 911—the car C/D will test every variation of until our readers’ eyes bleed and every editor spontaneously combusts. The offer on Porsche’s website appears to be national. Offer ends June 1.

Honda

$320 per month, 31 cents per mile

It’s already a wildly popular crossover, but Honda has goosed interest in its CR-V with this $320-per-month deal with no money due at signing. It’s a three-year/36,000-mile lease on the front-wheel-drive LX model. The all-wheel-drive version is 20 bucks a month more. The two-wheel drive CR-V LX is also available for $249 per month after $2899 at signing. The math says the $249 deal is slightly cheaper over the life of the lease. Offer ends June 1.

Jaguar

$399 per month, 60 cents per mile

Want a luxury-brand crossover at Toyota-like prices? Here’s Jaguar’s E-Pace SE P250 at only $399 after $3995 at signing. It’s a three-year/30,000-mile lease, which means the vehicle is under warranty the entire term of the lease. So, peace of mind. Offer ends June 1.

Subaru

$345 per month, 40 cents per mile

Subaru has been selling Outbacks and Foresters to Montanans, Vermonters, and Oompa-Loompas so successfully that it’s easy to forget the always entertaining WRX is still part of the company’s portfolio. But here it is, in all its six-speed manual transmission glory, for $345 per month on a three-year/36,000-mile lease. This deal is available in Southern California, but similar deals are on tap in other regions. Offer ends June 1.

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