Answer: Yes, you can negotiate a leasing deal on a new smart. It just takes some legwork. Call, text or email the leasing department of local dealerships and ask for prices on the inventory you're interested in. Be sure to ask about the initial payment (or first payment) amount and any incentives, finance deals or specials. Also, be sure to inquire about taxes and dealer fees, if any. Your goal is to gather a handful of lease price quotes and get a feel for how the dealerships will treat you. From this point, you can either take the best deal or call other dealers and see if they can beat that price. If no one budges, you are at rock bottom. Also, make sure to ask for a price breakdown of the deal. A breakdown should include sales tax and finance charges and reveal any hidden fees. Doing so allows you to accurately compare a variety of leasing quotes.
Answer: As with many carmakers, extra mileage charges can vary from brand to brand and car to car. In some cases, the over-mileage charge can vary even on the same car within a brand, depending on the trim level.
These extra mileage charges are often determined by the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of the auto: the higher the MSRP, the higher the charge. These charges can be as little as 10 cents a mile or as much as $1 a mile. The average charge is usually around 25 cents per mile. The best way to check the exact charge for the car you're considering is to visit the carmaker's website and read the fine print. If you signed a lease and forgot to check your over-mileage charge, take a look at your contract. It will be listed there.
Answer: Some lenders allow you to transfer a lease and others won't. Even among brands that do permit transfers, there is no clearly defined set of rules that can easily answer this question.
For example, some lenders will only allow transfers within the same state, within certain time frames, or under certain circumstances. If a bank does allow options for transfers, expect to pay a transfer fee. This bank fee can be as high as $600, depending on the lender. One thing that seems to be consistent across brands is that the person hoping to assume the lease will need to qualify under the lessor's (bank's) credit guidelines. The best way to know if you can potentially transfer a lease is to call the lender and ask. The dealership you're purchasing from may not know.
Answer: Buying out a smart lease could be a good move for some people, especially if the automobile has a reasonable buyout (residual) price. A few questions to ask yourself:
Do I see myself driving this car for the next five years? If not, a lease buyout probably isn't right for you.
Is the car priced well for the market? This is an easy question to answer. Look up other automobiles like yours on the used-car market, and compare those prices to your residual amount. If the residual is significantly lower than similar pre-owned inventory for sale, you may have a good deal on your hands.
Will this automobile have a reasonable cost of ownership if I do buy it? Most leases end around the same time as the factory warranty. So if you're considering a buyout, it would be a good idea to take into account the long-term repair cost history of a brand before making a final decision.
While many shoppers base the buyout decision solely on the selling price, a smarter move is to factor in expected long-term costs. Remember, you'll be responsible for covering the costs of maintenance, parts and repairs if something goes wrong.
Edmunds has a tool that will help you anticipate the costs of maintaining a leased car that you buy out. It's called True Cost to Own (TCO), and it is free to use. TCO will give you a five-year breakdown of what you can expect the auto to cost you in terms of parts and repairs, upkeep, fuel and depreciation.