4 OEMs Eye Lease-Like Offerings

Several startups and independent finance institutions in the powersports space have shown interest in leasing in recent months, and now leasing is even snatching attention from manufacturers.

From leasing providers like MotoLease LLC — which expanded its leasing program in June 2016 to include financing for low-dollar powersports vehicles — to startups Speed Leasing and RTO Cycles offering lease-to-own programs, it appears leasing is gaining ground.

Here are four manufacturers that are offering, or looking into launching, lease-like programs:

1. Ducati North America

Ducati launched its new financing program — Ducati Premier Financing — in March, which allows consumers to essentially lease a Ducati motorcycle, in some cases with a lower monthly payment and down payment than a traditional loan.

The program applies to all 2017 Ducati models. At the end of the term, owners have the option to sell the motorcycle privately, trade for a newer model, or pay it off. There are no wear-and-tear or mileage restrictions, and consumers can opt for a shorter trading cycle if they would like to trade-in for a newer model. Accessories can also be added.

Ducati Premier Financing is for “highly qualified consumers” through Ducati Financial Services, according to a press release. Ducati Premier payments are estimated with 11% down and a $750 freight-and-setup fee, due at signing, excluding taxes, title, and licensing.

2. Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

It appears Harley-Davidson is poised to offer a “lease-like” program through one of the “big agencies” in the rental space for non-traditional leases, said a source who asked to remain unnamed. The source was unsure if this agency will be EagleRider or another rental company.

While the specifics of the program are unclear, the program could operate similarly to a lease, where a consumer can finance the motorcycle for a specified amount of time and, at the end of the term, there would be a guaranteed buyback by the manufacturer.

3. BMW Motorrad

Several manufacturers have been exploring other avenues similar to leasing, such as loans with balloon payments. BMW Motorrad, for example, offers its BMW 3asy Ride Financing program, where borrowers make low monthly payments for a specified time period, and at the end of that term — when a balloon payment is due — the consumer can complete the motorcycle purchase, refinance the remaining balance, or trade in the vehicle for a new BMW motorcycle.

“A number of OEMs have expressed interest in trying something like [balloon payments], and Harley-Davidson Financial Services has explored that option, too,” said a source who asked to remain unnamed. “They want to get the price-point down on the new touring bikes.”

4. KTM North America

KTM is on the hunt for a leasing partner to offer alternative retail financing options to consumers in order to shorten the buying cycle, Jon-Erik Burleson, the off-road vehicle manufacturer’s former president, told Powersports Finance in November.

KTM North America is “talking” with a few leasing providers currently, Etherington said. The OEM maintains “great relationships” with its two installment lending partners, FreedomRoad Financial and Synchrony Financial, however, neither offers leasing options currently, he said.

“We could do some labeling or some branding on the leasing program, but we would need another partner to do this,” Burleson said. “This is not our space; our space is knowing dealers and knowing motorcycles. We are conceptualizing what we want the end-consumer experience to be like, but to get there we are going to need a partner to help us, or even two.”

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