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Published Oct. 22, 2008

In recent months, many manufacturers have announced they are cutting back on the car-leasing business or getting out of it altogether. Instead of asking the question, "Should I lease my next car?" many consumers are asking, "Can I lease my next car?" has compiled a list of questions and answers to help guide consumers through the recent changes in the car-leasing industry.

Which manufacturers are still offering lease programs?

Almost all; Chrysler is the only manufacturer to date that has said it will no longer financially back leases. Other manufacturers, like Ford and GM, said they will significantly cut back on leasing deals. Foreign automakers are still offering leases, though they may soon follow the domestics. You can also lease through one of the roughly 4,500 independent leasing firms, or through any of the thousands of car dealers who have favorable arrangements with their banks, or through your own financial institution - bank, credit union, or savings and loan.

Should I still consider leasing as an option?

There are still reasons to lease a car. Maybe you are self-employed and can write off your car payment. Maybe you like driving a new car every two or three years. However, because leases typically offered a lower monthly payment than financing a new car, many consumers chose leasing as a way to get a luxury vehicle that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford. That scenario is likely to change. In fact, leases are likely to get more expensive and harder to find - thus reserved for the most credit-worthy buyers.

What caused manufacturers to change?

Lease payments are based on a formula that includes a car's residual value at the end of the lease term. In other words, when you lease a vehicle, you're paying for the depreciation of the car. As gas prices began to skyrocket, the projected depreciation of popular gas-guzzling SUVs was much worse than manufacturers projected. The difference between predicted and actual SUV residual values this year alone led to a $4.8-billion loss for domestic automakers.

For more information on car leasing, visit