Leasing My 2013 Nissan Leaf
Now that I knew what I wanted (2013 Nissan Leaf SV w/ LED/QC and Premium packages) it was time to start looking for the best deal. I started by buy going to TrueCar, a site I've enjoyed using in the past. TrueCar asks you what kind of car you're looking for and where you are located. They then provide you with a bunch of information about what you can expect to pay for that car and forward your request to a selected group of local dealers. Those dealers will generally email or call you within minutes. They'll want you to come into their dealership ASAP, but just politely ask them to send you a quote over email.
I ended up talking with about 4-5 dealers over email. I just counted and the total number of emails exchanged was over 100. Most of them despise email and will want to talk on the phone, but I've found that to be a waste of time. Now, when you're getting quotes from them, you're looking for some key pieces of information:
- Price of the car
- Residual at the end of your lease (higher is better)
- Money factor (lower is better)
- Closing costs
- Monthly payment
I specifically asked for quotes for a 2-year, 12k miles-per-year lease. EV technology is moving fast, and I didn't want to commit to this car for more than 2 years. Here are some examples of quotes that I got. Some dealers simply refused to disclose things like the money factor over email. Please note that these quotes are for a 2013 Nissan Leaf SV with QC/LED package but without the premium package:
|Dealership||Price||Residual||Money Factor||Drive Away||Payment|
My correspondence with Younker Nissan (salesperson was Dennis Weymouth) was the best experience I had. He did two things that were different from every other dealer I dealt with:
- He emailed me a super detailed quote that contained all of the key data points
- He called me exactly once (every other dealer called me 5+ times)
At this point, I was ready to go lease the car. My primary fear is that somewhere along the way they would slide in a bunch of fees. So I made sure prior to driving down there the two most important numbers:
- $150 signing / drive away costs
- $314.30 / month payments
Those 2 numbers encapsulate all the other variables I mentioned above. If you're curious what the math looks like, I've shared a Google spreadsheet that contains all of the calculations for a car lease with my information pre-filled. Feel free to make a copy of it and enter in your own information to double-check that what the salesperson is telling you makes sense.
If you look at that spreadsheet, you might notice some amazing financial incentives for my car purchase. First, the state of Washington charges no sales or use taxes on the purchase of an EV. So for a car that costs $32,717, you would normally owe $2224.76 in taxes. Second, the federal government offers a $7500 tax credit for the purchase of an EV. Since you're leasing the car the "owner" of the vehicle is NMAC (Nissan's credit arm). NMAC happily accepts the full $7500 credit and applies it to lower your capitalized cost. So a $33k car can be had for ~$23k. Pretty sweet!
One last tip: the dealers will often ask you if you (or more likely your company) participates in Nissan VPP (vehicle purchase program). There is a discount dealers get for selling a car to a person in this program. If you work for a big company in the area (Microsoft, Expeditors, etc) than you're probably eligible for the VPP discount. Make sure you disclose this to each dealer you speak with and make sure you're comparing apples to apples, VPP prices to VPP prices. Some dealers will just quote you a VPP price without saying that they're doing so and rolling the dice that you qualify in order to get you in the door.
Anyway, that is the end of my little mini-series of blog posts on the purchase (lease) of our family's new 2013 Nissan Leaf. Hope some people found this information useful!