You have earned a new car - and leasing could be the pathway to get there. I have heard the “always buy used, let someone else pay for the big depreciation” story. That story sucks sometimes when you get a call from the service manager and they say you need $2000 in work and they will throw in that oil change you came in for at no charge. Been there brother.
To get a good lease deal you need to become comfortable with how leasing works and then figure out how much it will cost. That takes time. That takes homework. You can do it, you just need to decide if you want to put in the time and effort. No harm if you don’t, not everyone has the time. Everyone has the brain power, it just takes homework and high school math. You are here so that tells me the challenge of negotiating a lease intrigues you.
Here is my suggestion. Spend a little time here and wrap your head around the mechanics of leasing. Use a R-Line MSRP of $30,225 (or pick any MSRP). I will give you some lease figures to play with (these are not real, but use them while you wait for edmunds): MF 0.00001, RV 42%, $3,350 lease cash, lease acquisition fee $625. Make an assumption the dealer discounts the MSRP 8% (I am making this up, this is not a great deal). Go to the VW website and see if you qualify for conditional rebates like loyalty, conquest, 1st responder (https://www.vw.com/special-offers/). Now you have most of the pieces you need to feed into the lease calculator (make up the rest). Play with the calculator and see if the initial challenge to learn about leasing drives you to learn more. If you want more, I will give you a roadmap on how to put in the work and get a great deal. This may be overwhelming at first, but many people jump into the lease hackr deep end and walk away with a great lease. But it does take work. It can’t be done in one or two posts.
Now do yourself a favor. If your initial foray into leasing gives you a headache and you get distracted on your feeds, please reach out to a broker. I have heard to many stories of people doing a little homework and walking into a dealership and coming out with a okay-bad deal. If you are not prepared, the salesman will win. They do this every day, 10x a day. A broker can cost you up to $500 but 95% of the time they save you more than you can do on your own if you put in little to no work.
I am rooting for you. Do your homework, ask the hackr crowd questions and go negotiate a great lease. Here is a road map.
For most people, the critical components of a good deal are straightforward. You need to understand and manipulate the following: a. solid-to-great discount off MSRP, b. methodically stack manufacturer/dealer incentives , c. buy rate MF, d. customary fees/taxes, e. minimal DAS and f. no garbage add-ons. Some high school math is involved, so invest time to grasp the lease calculation/calculator. The leasing process can appear formidable. But, master it’s critical components and you can negotiate a great deal.
Here is a roadmap on how you get there:
First, you spend 20+ minutes on the “leasing 101” and “calculator” sections of this forum and discover or brush-up on leasing fundamentals. Hackrs share their insights in shorthand so to get the most out of their feedback know how the leasing game is played. Calculator tip: To get the most useful feedback on your deal from the hackrs make sure you know how to reflect 3 key variables in the calculator: A. Pre-Incentive Selling Price (calc input = Selling Price, please master pre-incentive SP), B. direct-to-consumer incentives (calc input = Taxed Incentives), and C. direct-to-dealer incentives (calc input = Untaxed Incentives).
Second, you spend 5 minutes on edmunds.com (see link below) to request the current MF, RV and incentives available for your specific vehicle and region. You post a customized version of the following question and wait for a response (usually less than one business day): “Dealer zip code 98765. 36/10k. 2021 330i xDrive. Please share the latest MF, RV and incentives. Plus any loyalty, conquest or college cash available?” Note: you need to provide a dealer zip code where you plan to negotiate the deal plus year, make, model, and drive.
Now this is a critical step. Understand and share your selling price BEFORE incentives. What people on here refer to as the pre-incentive selling price. Hackr feedback on this critical variable is what you seek - clearly identify your pre-incentive discount to make it easy for the hackrs to share their viewpoint on your situation. Best case - before you reach out to dealers - do your research on this forum and ask the hackrs: “Based on my homework, I plan to target a pre-incentive discount of X-Y% in the SoCal market. Can I be more aggressive? Will I need to settle for less?” I will be explicit - the single most important variable you will negotiate is your pre-incentive discount from MSRP. The rest of the monthly lease calculation - RV, buy rate MF, acquisition fee - is non-negotiable with the lender. Incentives are set by the mfg - just make sure you get them all.
Use the search function on this forum to discover relevant deal posts (i.e. comps) so you can gauge the range of possible pre-incentive discounts for your situation. This step can NOT be skipped. As you review “Signed” and “Deal Help” postings you will put your working lease knowledge to the test and gain confidence in quickly identifying “good-bad” deals. This exercise will steady your nerves as you engage in your actual negotiations. “Under pressure, you sink to your level of training” (badass Navy Seal movie).
Go get a competitive quote - and you don’t even need to leave this forum. Your first “dealer” quote can come from one of the brokers/dealers on this site. Brokers/dealers post their current deals every few weeks: monthly, DAS, MF, RV, incentives, MSDs. If you like the numbers, you are driving a new car in a few days. If you want to invest energy to get a more aggressive deal, you know what to shoot for.
The buy rate MF is the lowest interest rate available from the lender. You must qualify for tier 1 credit. During your negotiation determine if the dealer is calculating your payment using the buy rate. To add profit, a common practice among dealers is to “mark-up” the MF. Your homework from step 1 will explain how to counter MF mark-ups. Make your offer at the buy rate. If the dealer insists the deal must be done with a markup simply adjust you selling price offer down to compensate for the MF markup.
Find all available incentives (step 2 Edmunds plus mfg websites), know the standard fees/taxes in your state, research how to structure DAS, avoid buying down cap cost and just say no to garbage add-ons.
Ninja hackr move: Use MSDs to save on interest cost. See step 1 to discover their benefits. Note: not all captive lenders offer MSDs.
It’s best to have a solid understanding of what deal is possible in your market and in the current environment BEFORE you engage with dealers. With an outline of a great deal in hand, work your way down a list of dealers until you get it - or close to it. If you crave an aggressive deal you will hear “no” 90% of the time; respectfully move on to the next dealer until you run out of energy or time. Pull the trigger … and enjoy your new car with the confidence that you played the game well. Or, reach out to the many reputable brokers/dealers on this site and start driving your new car in a matter of days.
Put in the time and you can do this.