German Luxury Models: Comparisons May Foster Competitive Leasing Programs

Oct 31, 2011, 08:00 ET from

CINCINNATI, Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In the automobile industry Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi each epitomizes German innovation, superior quality and a premium driving experience. These brands consistently weigh in with three bestselling model series in the United States. However, surprising discoveries about leasing have recently been made by, the market's only full-service marketplace for in-process vehicle leases.

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The Mercedes-Benz C-class series remains a leader among the brands, showing record gains in the past two years, while adapting to today's consumers with sleeker body styling and more efficient engines. In the most recent 500,000 web searches, found that 39% of these were Mercedes models.

Motor Trend calls the BMW 3-series "the ultimate best-selling driving machine," and with good reason: the 3-series accounted for nearly 40% of total BMW sales in 2005, and shows no sign of slowing in 2012. reports that BMW holds a daunting 47% of recent user searches.

Worldwide, the Audi A4 more than doubles the sales of its competitor models, while being named a 2011 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These strong showings don't translate well to lease numbers, however. Due to various lease-transfer restrictions, the Audi brand was only able to muster a mere 8% of available leases on

Interestingly, the demand for and availability of third-party assumption of leases for Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles are closely matched. Audi, on the other hand, seems to have sufficient demand, but the supply is weakened by lease limitations. Scot Hall, EVP of may attribute it to liability issues, "Audi is the only German luxury brand that requires third-party liability on lease transfers," which basically means, "anyone who transfer a lease to another party is still potentially responsible for the monthly payments."

One thing is clear: if Audi wishes to keep pace with its current record-setting sales numbers and pull ahead of its competitors, changing its lease transfer policies may be a good place to start.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the world's largest automotive lease marketplace and the pioneer in facilitating lease transfers online. First conceptualized in 1997, Swapalease has evolved into a leading automotive consumer online destination servicing all aspects of the automotive leasing lifecycle including education, research, pricing, acquisition and lease transfer. For more information, please call 866-SWAPNOW (866-792-7669) or visit

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Scot Hall