Weatherford Democrat

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August 1, 2013

ONLINE ONLY: Auto leases on the rise

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. —

Chrysler deliveries may increase 16 percent in July, the average of nine estimates. The Auburn Hills-based company's residual values have been on the rise, helping boost sales of 200 sedans and Dodge Dart compacts from the lot of dealerships such as Extreme Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram.

"We love two-year leases because people come back in two years," said owner Wesley Lutz, who said leases have accounted for about one-third of the Jackson store's sales this year.

Leasing will stay strong as long as used-car prices remain at historically high levels and interest rates continue to be low, said Group 1's DeLongchamps. The Houston-based dealer group reported revenue of $2.34 billion for the three months ending June 30, a quarterly record for the company.

"Finding low-mileage, late-model cars is still very difficult," he said. "The supply is improving a little bit, but you still see leasing activity happening because the residuals are so strong. Interest rates are still cheap."

With assistance from Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles.

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