Fiat 500 Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was anyone able to successfully buy their car at the end of lease for less than the contracted residual? Anyone work with a dealer who could buy the car for less and turn it around and sell back to them?

My lease is coming up. The car is the perfect fit for my needs for my daily driver, so worst case I'll buy it out at the contracted price, but I wanted to hear from anyone here if I have any options to buy it for less. I've heard rumors that you can negotiate the buy-out price with Chrysler Capital, but Chrysler and the local dealer said no.

I would be open to finding another if I could find one as clean as mine, but I doubt it. No swirls or scratches anywhere on it. The interior is spotless. I've taken exceptional care and the car is in the same condition as day 1.
 

·
Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
I've read at least 2 reports of lease returns where the dealer said "NO WAY!" & then the customer suggested they return it & then buy it right back, & the dealer did that, for around the going rate.

Don't tell THEM how yours is pristine & you'd rather keep it. Show them the dozen available locally for under $8k, & ask them if they wouldn't rather make a sale, or let you go down the street & buy one of the others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
The dealer and the finance company flat out refused to negotiate when the lease ran out on my beloved 2016. The used car mgr was really nice and we made a plan for me to buy the car back afterwards from the dealer. THEN he found out that it had less than 10K miles on it - Chrysler/Fiat would not let him buy the car! The keep them for themselves for ?? As it turns out my L.A.car ended up in Florida! SO- I bought an off-lease 2016 from another dealer for less than half the buyout price. I just don't get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
The leasing company just wants to resell the car for at least residual value (obviously if they can sell for higher is preferable). In most auto lease contracts, the lessee has option to purchase at lease end (pay residual plus fees) or prior (pay buyout plus fees). There are closed and open ended leases. If lessee chooses not to buy, the lease company can do whatever it likes, since it owns the vehicle. It may sell it retail, wholesale, at auction or to another dealer. In your case, maybe another dealer was willing to pay more than your offer. A dealer might feel it can sell for more, since it is very low kms, and they likely will offer financing. All it takes is for the lease company to call another dealer or a wholesaler who may have purchased the car on a simple phone call. The car you were able to purchase at a lower price may be due to several factors including how the vehicle came into their possession, their ability to sell, local market conditions, etc etc. If a lease return is in top condition, one owner, no accidents and much lower then allowed kms, etc, it usually is worth more than residual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
It is obvious that there is some financial shenanigans - there are no used 3 year-old 500es selling for the lease buyout price which is usually 1/2 of the sticker price. In may case it was $18K. I would have given them $10-12K to keep that car but they wouldn't hear of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
The lease company has no obligation to sell below residual as would maybe rarher take chance to sell for less loss or maybe have or believe they have a buyer that will pay more. Maybe they will try and sell and recoup some of the loss in financing the used car. If they sell to you below residual, even if "market value", they lose this opportunity. Maybe the lease company is just too slow and their people who process the lease return have no authority to sell below residual at the time. They are usually banks or financial institutions and the mentally they have is to follow processes. Maybe they resell at same or similar value so they don't really care who buys it or when.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
At the time (2019) - The MOST 3 year old off lease 500e were selling for was around $9-10K - I paid $8K for mine from a Fiat dealer. Used car prices have recently skyrocketed the last year due to shortage of new cars so current asking prices are much higher right now) That means the dealer likely paid around $5-6K for mine at the used car auction. The lease residual was $18K+ so they are losing as much as $10K on the car on paper. Chrysler/Fiat must make more money using the paper loss against taxes than they do with profit. I'm not a banker so I don't know how this works, but I can tell you that Toyota and Acura were both happy to negotiate a buyout price with me on past cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Not sure what saying without specific information. In Canada, Chrysler Finanace stopped doing leasing some time ago. Did you fully read and understand your lease contract and who lessor was? Did you refinance buyout anount? Did you clearly understand terms and amounts? Was there any particular reason Toyota financial (is this who lessor was) sold you your ex-lease below residual (assuming from your post)?
 

·
Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
For all I know, 500E may be a very rare case: Lease-end buyout is usually around $18,000. In the PAST, other owners' clean low-mile just-off-lease 500Es were readily available for around $8-10k but dealers all refuse to negotiate at all. However a few owners have reported here that they were able to convince them (see post 2 above).

I just checked, & now that used prices are higher, but still as low as $12k, & most are $14.5 - $16.5k, most with SUPER-low miles (under 10k mi, hopefully from telecommuting, not from job loss).

In other words, so far it has never been "a fair price" or "worth more than residual".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Philpop - Sorry - I don't have answers to your questions. It just seemed that it was clear that they were never going to sell the car at the residual price and were happy to take a discount. The last one was a while ago - 2007, maybe? I don't think that the banks were then setting the residuals as they do now. This may have something to do about it. Someone in auto finance could likely explain. I think I did re-finance it, but don't recall the details. Sorry - my brain is too old now.

I hope that the prices drop back down next year, as I would like to get an off-lease 2019 with a sunroof. I had that on my first 500e and I miss it every day - just to flip up for ventilation and to be able to hear sirens, etc.
 

·
Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
I hope they drop too, but even if not, if I end up with some spare cash I'd like to get an off-lease 2019 the EXACT same as my 2013: white without sunroof - I've heard they're hot when parked in the sun. I might go for the "sport" trim though since I'm going to put my own wheels on it & black out the mirrors, but I like the black headlights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Seems like a pretty crazy good value regardless. My only issue would be range and charge time. If those weren't issue, I'd be after one also. The 1.4 gas is pretty darn efficient and has nice character so i can't complain.
 

·
Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Charge time for me is 10 seconds: 5 seconds to plug in when I get home, & 5 seconds to unplug when I leave ;). That recharges about 50 miles overnight, which is well over my slightly sub-average 37 mile commute, & for longer trips it also gets me to the airport & back (or to Enterprise ;)).

$18k isn't ALL that crazy a value compared to $19k for a 125-mile eGolf with DC charging, 4 doors & 5 seats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Ya, i see the electric benefits. But a good condition, low kms, gas, manual is a pretty compelling value. I like the idea of never having the hassle getting gas and i definitely would need more range.... But i love how the multi air sounds thru the short shot intake and self rowing a manual transmission. And the lighter weight with some simple, inexpensive mods makes for one heck of a low budget, low cost, high value driver's.car. Sounds a bit silly when I think about it but it truly is one of the most fun cars to drive ever. I ve driven quite a few if not all of the most fun budgets cars and a slightly modded Fiat 500 (non turbo for ultra low budget) is very near the top.
 

·
Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
That doesn't sound at all silly to me. 500e is my favorite daily driver I've ever driven, let alone owned, & more fun for me overall than my stick-shift MR2 Spyder or even my 5-spd 5.0L V8 240Z with Torsen diff. Part of that is I get to enjoy the sound of other hot cars around me (like a Lambo or a multi air ;)).

A couple of years ago I test-drove a top-of-the-line 500 Abarth, just to see if I was missing any driving fun. Yes, it handles substantially better than a stock 500e, although that's most likely a pretty easy upgrade with a Koni kit & maybe a rear swaybar. However the E's snappy acceleration was completely absent, with the single exception of at about 25mph.

Granted, it was an automatic, so I couldn't do a redline clutch drop, or even gear down before flooring it (although that delay is now literally a nightmare scenario for me*). But as-is, even in "sport" mode it was relatively sluggish off the line AND at every speed I tested it, in 5mph increments from zero to about 45. The ONE exception where it felt about equal was around 25 (might have been 20, or 30, I don't recall exactly).

*After driving the 500e for a while, I actually had a nightmare where I was in my old MR2 & needed to accelerate quickly to avoid a collision. I floored it, realized I needed to gear down first, clutch, shift, pop, floor, but by then too late & I woke up in right before dying. It now scares the crap out of me every time I'm driving someone else's car & floor it to pass but nothing happens for half a second: "Oh crap! Is it dead? Oh, there's some noise. Okay, NOW it's starting to accelerate"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Haha, that's great. These Fiat's make grown adults sound like children talking. Wouldn't want it any other way....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Had no desire at all for the one on the left. Oh, I totally appreciate the engineering but everytime I get into this little, inexpensive 500, I don't want anything else..well, except AC haha
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
2,886 Posts
Ya, Porsche maintenance & repair costs are ridiculous. I'm no expert, but I think that's a 911, with poor fuel economy & for which Google results show the following launch procedure:
  1. "Depress the brake pedal to 100%
  2. Quickly depress and hold the accelerator pedal to 100%. You MUST pass the kickdown notch.
  3. The revs will hold at the preset launch control RPM. ...
At this point I'm across the intersection, at about 30mph, while the 911 is still stopped behind the crosswalk...

4. Release the brake pedal quickly and keep the accelerator at 100%.
5. Enjoy!" (unless you're racing a 500e)

There's a similar procedure for late-model Maseratis, allowing me to blow the doors off the one who had the audacity to challenge me to a race from a red light:

Maserati vs 500e! Instant Torque Rules!
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top