Chinese Lease Special: Only $1,860 Per Month!

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
chinese lease special only 1 860 per month

Whenever the insane growth rates of Chinese car sales come up, there is one inevitable comment: ”Wait until credit tightens. Those sales will come crashing down.” My (in the meantime canned) answer: “China isn’t America. In China, people usually buy their car with cash. Financing is rare. Leasing highly uncommon.” Apart from being smart not to pay interest on a depreciating asset, the Chinese have all reason not to lease. Case in point: An email I received today.

It comes from BetterLife Leasing, that dubs itself “The best corporate leasing solutions in Beijing.” I don’t want to see the lesser solutions. BetterLife sent me today’s lease specials. An Audi A6L from 12,700 RMB a month. A Mercedes E-Class from 15,500 RMB a month. In case you don’t know the rate of the Chinese currency off the top of your head: That Made in China Audi A6L would set you back $1,860 a month would you lease it. The Benz would cost you a cool $2,270 monthly. For the base model, 3 year lease. No wonder people prefer cash. The base Audi A6L carries an MSRP of around $47,000, call it $42,000 with the customary Chinese haggling. At $1,860 a month, the car would be paid down in less than two years. You’d have to keep it, pay $25,000 for another year and change, and then give the car back. The Chinese would call you a “250” if you’d do that. In ancient Chinese numerology, it means that you are stupid.

Why are leases so 250 in China? There are no systems for keeping track of residual value. The used car market is a jungle. There is always a stupid laowei who’s slow on the uptake. When I came here six years ago, with my head full of American thinking, I enquired about a lease. My definitely not 250 Chinese assistant said: “Are you nuts? If you don’t want to buy, it’s cheaper to rent by the day with a driver.” Six years later, she’s still right.

In the U.S., more than 85 percent of the cars are bought on credit. In China, less than 10 percent. Credit or no credit: It doesn’t affect the Chinese auto market.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Mtypex Mtypex on May 19, 2010

    With all the money that the government and top corporate brass in China have, I really don't see the problem. $2,000 a month? No big deal. How much do the Maseratis go for?

  • Lilpoindexter Lilpoindexter on May 19, 2010

    HA HA...250...Chinese always put 8's in their email or nickname or whatever...I'm going to change a chinese friend's 8 to a 250 in his nickname, and see what he does...

  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...
  • Greg Add me to the list: 2017 Sorento EX AWD w/2.0 Turbo GDI 68K miles. Changed oil religiously with only synthetic. Checked oil level before a rare long road trip and Ievel was at least 2 quarts down. That was less than 6 months after the last oil change. I'm now adding a quart of oil every 1000 miles and checking every 500 miles because I read reports that the oil usage gets worse. Too bad, really like the 2023 Tuscon. But I have not seen Hyundai/Kia doing anything new in terms of engine development. Therefore, I have to suspect that I will ony become a victim of a fatally flawed engine development program if I were to a purchase another Kia/Hyundai.
  • Craiger 1970s Battlestar Galactica Cylon face.