Almost 17.3 million new vehicles were sold in the United States in 2018, and the obvious big news was the popularity of trucks and sport-utility vehicles. SUVs alone made up nearly 50 percent of the market. Meanwhile, only 32 percent of the new vehicles purchased in 2018 were cars. But there’s another trend we’re watching: It turns out that roughly 28 percent of all new-vehicle sales last year — representing more than 4.5 million vehicles — were actually leases rather than purchases. As that rate was a mere 8.2 percent back in 1992, it’s clear that the increase in leasing has been just as notable as the increase in SUV sales.
One difference is that the lease-penetration rate has admittedly slipped a bit in recent years. Experts predict it will be closer to 25 percent in 2019. Yet that’s still millions of drivers who remain dedicated to leasing. If you want to understand that kind of commitment, just read on.