Volkswagen's diesel scandal is having an insufferable impact on the VW brand. To combat a potential decline in sales, Volkswagen is offering huge discounts on their cars—and if you're a current VW owner, the deals become off-the-charts good.
Volkswagen is offering $2,000 in Loyalty Cash to existing owners of 2001 or newer VWs. We think it's best experienced on a lease.
Why? For one, the Loyalty Cash is amortized over a much shorter amount of time and smaller amount of money on a lease than a purchase, so the savings on a percentage basis become much greater.
Secondly, leasing has clearly defined costs. When you lease, you're paying for depreciation, which is the difference between the selling price of the car when new and the residual value—i.e., what the manufacturer estimates the car is worth at the end of the lease.
Dieselgate will have an uncertain effect on the residual values of Volkswagens, so it's a good idea to have the manufacturer incur that depreciation risk rather than yourself.
How good are the deals? They're unprecedented. The VW with the highest Leasehackr Score we've found is the 2015 Passat Limited Edition:
|2015 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition - Sample Lease|
|Target Capitalized Cost||$17,720*|
|36-Month Residual||$13,276 (53% of MSRP)**|
|Money Factor||.00001 (0.02% APR)|
|Estimate||$124 per month|
$0 down payment with only first month's payment and government fees due at signing. Does not include sales tax.
*Assumes a target sales price of $19,095 (inclusive of $3,000 manufacturer-to-dealer Lease Cash), less $2,000 Loyalty Cash, plus $625 acquisition fee.
**Assumes 10,000 miles per year. Subtract 1% for 12,000 miles per year.
Leasehackr Score: 17.1 years
Leasing this car for one year amounts to paying 6% of its MSRP.
The Passat Limited Edition has an MSRP of $25,050. According to our analysis of recent sales data in the Southern California region, an excellent but entirely feasible sales price for this car is $19,095, which includes $3,000 in manufacturer-to-dealer Lease Cash. Factor in the $2,000 Loyalty Bonus and the $625 acquisition fee, and you've got a capitalized cost of $17,720.
VW has set the 36-month residual value on this car at an ambitions 53% of MSRP ($13,276), assuming a 10,000 mile per year lease.
This means a total depreciation expense of $4,444, or $123 per month.
The money factor for the Passat Limited Edition is a super low .00001. This lease is nearly interest-free; every month, you'll pay less than a dollar in finance charges.
The total? $124/month before tax with $0 down payment.
With a Leasehackr Score of 17.1 years for current VW owners, we haven't found a car that can beat the Passat's deal.
Also consider: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima
We love the: Limo-like rear seat. Ride-and-handling balance. Generous standard equipment on Limited Edition model.
But watch out for: Fiddly infotainment system. Generic, if inoffensive, styling.