2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist

Buick rolled out a new auto lease program on its entire lineup last week. Buick’s new two-year lease deals include free maintenance, as well as tech features, like subscriptions to satellite radio and OnStar, which are included free of charge for the duration of the lease.

Brian Sweeney, VP of Buick and GMC sales and service, touts the Experience Buick lease program in a statement as “providing buyers two full years of all-inclusive, worry-free driving.”

Automotive News says that Buick’s new lease program will aim to “boost lease penetration to the levels of other luxury brands.”

The new two-year lease deals have a higher monthly payment, but require no money at lease signing. Buick’s previous lease deals generally lasted for 39 months and required less than $2,000 at signing. Since the leases are shorter now, the monthly payments will be more. The 2012 Buick Regal’s lease payment went from $269 a month to $369 a month, but required $1,579 at signing and now requires $0. Over the 39-month lease, you would have paid a total of $12,070 to lease the Regal. Under the new 24-month $0 down payment lease, you’ll pay a total of $8,856.

There are pros and cons to Buick’s new lease program. If three and a half years is too much of a commitment for you, the two-year lease may be appealing. Free maintenance can also save you money, as you won’t have to pay for things like oil changes or tire rotations. Satellite radio is usually free for only three months, and OnStar free for six months. On the downside, a two-year lease is relatively short, so after two years, you’ll have to come up with a down payment to lease or buy another vehicle, unless you find another “no money due at signing” lease incentive at that time.

Several luxury car brands are using free maintenance to get shoppers to lease or buy their vehicles. Since leases generally last the duration of the new-car warranty, the owner is typically only responsible for regular maintenance and wear-and-tear items, like oil changes, tire rotations, wiper blades and brake pads. BMW’s maintenance program covers oil changes, as well as brake pads, brake discs, the air filter, engine drive belts, spark plugs and wiper blades. Mini, Volkswagen, Toyota and Jaguar also offer free maintenance.

Many luxury car brands depend on leasing to boost new-car sales, as it allows shoppers to get more car for their money. ALG, a company that provides vehicle residual values, says in its 2012 residual value outlook by segment that premium luxury vehicles are not in high demand in the used car market due to their high price tags. “These vehicles also depend heavily on lease programs, which often use subvention to lower payments,” ALG reports.  

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