We recently a CarPro Radio Show caller ask about a "pull-ahead" lease program. His dealer had contacted him, and his question was whether or not this was legitimate and if it were something the manufacturer was offering, or just a dealer gimmick. This listener had 11 payments left, so I deemed it not to be a legitimate factory-sponsored offer, but there are many that are.
Pull-Ahead Lease Programs
It can vary, but generally if you are currently in a lease, the "pull-ahead" will allow you to skip up to your last three payments if you lease another vehicle of the same brand. This is particularly good for people who are on track to go over their mileage allowance. Essentially, you are moving your lease end date up by 90 days.
Over the last few years, these programs have become very popular with automakers, and are just another form of an incentive.
Are their any catches? Generally, no.
The automakers are willing to spend money to keep you as a customer. They know that you are coming up on a major automotive decision.
Before the end of the lease, you have to decide whether to lease again, whether to just turn your leased vehicle in and walk away, or their big fear is you'll turn your car in and lease from a competitor. Strategically, they attempt to reach people early with a compelling offer to keep your business.
Can you purchase a car instead of leasing again with a Pull-Ahead program?
Possibly. I have seen Pull-Ahead programs allow people who want to get out of their lease early to purchase a car instead of doing another lease.
Most times when the "pull-ahead" programs are in effect, the other incentives that the public receive are available to you as well. Some automakers make it extremely attractive to keep you in their brand, or at least strongly consider it.
Are pull-ahead lease programs available all the time?
Definitely not. My experience is you'll see them only a couple of times a year for a brief time, so watch your mail and email for something from your dealer or manufacturer if you are in a lease. When you receive an offer, don't just pitch it. It could be a very valuable message that could save you a lot of money.
A car's age can prompt a pull-ahead program.
One reason automakers offer pull-ahead programs is because of year model change. All cars become a year older every September. (Ex. if you have a 2020 Toyota Camry, in August your vehicle was three years old, but in September, it will be a four year old vehicle).
If your lease was ending in August, Toyota may have wanted your car back in early summer so it would be worth more and offered a pull-ahead offer.
Looking ahead, I think it is likely we'll see more lease pull-ahead programs in the future. Leasing has grown each year of the past five years and in the second quarter of 2019, 30.4% of new vehicles were leased according to Experian Automotive financial data. That means that over the coming few years, over five million vehicles will be coming off-lease. That is a big number of vehicles for the dealers and automakers to deal with, but also represents a huge opportunity to sell another vehicle. I have not seen any down side for the consumer to jump on board with lease pull-ahead programs, it is free money given to you to keep you as a customer, and get you into a new set of wheels.