Honda cracks down: No more returning leased cars to others’ lots

“Our goal is to make sure our dealers have access to quality pre-owned Honda and Acura vehicles to satisfy the needs of new and returning customers,” Petar Vucurevic, a vice president at Honda’s financing arm, said in a statement.

Nationwide, auto inventories stood at about 1.5 million units at the end of May, the equivalent of about 25 days of supply, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. That’s down from 2.6 million units and 61 days a year ago amid the pandemic, which depressed demand as showrooms closed and consumers sheltered in place.

It’s not uncommon for drivers to get out of their leases by going through a third party — such as another dealer at a different brand who offers them a good price on a new car and is willing to take the old one off their hands.

The policy change, which Honda will reassess at the end of the year, applies to both existing and new leases, a spokesperson said.

Honda’s not alone in limiting options for drivers of leased vehicles looking to sell to the highest bidder. General Motors’ financial arm introduced a similar policy earlier this month and Toyota Motor Corp. is reviewing its policy on leased vehicles.

While becoming more widespread, the practice is not new: A spokesperson for Ford Motor Co. said the company has refused to accept third-party lease returns for years.

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