Buyout Begone: Ford Says You Can Never Own Leased EVs

Ford Motor Co. will be suspending end-of-lease buyout options for customers driving all-electric vehicles, provided they took possession of the model after June 15, 2022. Those who nabbed their Mach-E beforehand will still have the option of purchasing the automobile once their lease ends. However, there are some states that won’t be abiding by the updated rules until the end of the year, not that it matters when customers are almost guaranteed to have to wait at least that long on a reserved vehicle.

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Batteries Not Included: Nio Ready to Lease EV Power Packs

Chinese automaker Nio is planning to allow customers to lease vehicle batteries independently from the cars themselves, and has involved Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) in the venture.

Considering EVs are useless without their battery, leasing an essential component seems to serve little purpose on its face. But Nio intends to sell its ES6 crossover for 273,600 yuan ($39,500) in China with the option to lease the battery for 980 yuan a month. Customers can also choose to purchase the entire vehicle outright for 343,600 yuan ($49,600) if they haven’t tricked themselves into believing a better battery is less than a year away.

This is a weird one, because the stated purpose is to lower the vehicle’s upfront costs. But it’s just a paperweight without an energy source, forcing customers to lease the power pack if they want to use the vehicle — and at no small cost. The companies announced the new program in Beijing on Thursday with Nio CEO William Li stating his company plans to enter Europe in the second half of 2021. Hopefully they’ll be dumb enough to accept the batteries-as-a-service premise.

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Extremely Green Cars Showered With Another Kind of Green

Want to wear your environmental activism on your sleeve? Park some of it in your driveway.

Gone are the days when driving an electric car required careful trip planning — and white-knuckled, pit-stained trips to the suburbs. Automakers have finally endowed their greenest rides with enough range to keep anxiety mostly at bay.

And, because there’s a pandemic (among other factors impacting electric vehicle sales), some of those same OEMs really want to move those cars off the lot. There’s deals to be had, greenies.

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Food for Thought: Honda Civic Si or… Corolla?

If you’re like us — and I do mean us, as this is an issue on which there’s no disagreement — you probably view the Honda Civic Si as an attractive entry in the affordable “fun” car realm. A peppier-than-most powerplant, standard six-speed manual, brand appeal, stellar model reputation, and a spacious cabin? What’s not to like?

Well, certainly not this lease offer, which makes the 205-horsepower Civic Si a cheaper get than a low-end Corolla.

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Incentivised From the Start: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Aims to Persuade

In the midsize sedan war, the Hyundai Sonata is like Japanese forces in the Pacific — slowly losing ground as powerful enemies amass an ever larger share of the territory. When faced with the name recognition and brand appeal of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, maintaining your position means throwing everything you have into the fight.

Into that battle came the radically restyled 2020 Hyundai Sonata, joined imminently by the Sonata Hybrid — a sedan that gets up to 52 mpg on the combined cycle. Hyundai has apparently decided that money talks, and that the new hybrid will ride into battle waving cash at local townfolk.

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U.S. Sales Slide Bottoms Out; Pickups Keep Things Afloat While Compact Car Customers Stay Away in Droves

Thanks to our friends at J.D. Power, we’ve been able to offer up weekly insights into the greatest disruption to the nation’s auto industry since World War 2. It’s a volatile time, with major changes occurring week to week, rather than over the course of months and years, and the disruption remains highly dependent on region and the legislative proclamations of various states.

Last week’s sales results tell us the great weakening of the U.S. new vehicle market has reached rock bottom, with no signs of further digging. It’s also not as deep a trench as the firm’s analysts predicted.

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Fun Car, Bad Lease: Toyota 86 Tops List of Unappetizing Offers

Despite slow sales pretty much since its inception, the Toyota 86 and its Subaru twin, the BRZ, will see a second-generation model. We’ve said it before and will say it again: you’ll miss it when it’s gone. Far too many bland vehicles out there.

That said, purchasing a current-year 86 looks like a much better option than signing a three-year lease on the plucky, rear-drive 2+2.

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Outgoing Chevrolet Bolt: Less Range, More Desire?

Forget about six-figure super-sedan battles on fancy German racing circuits — it’s all a sideshow to what really matters in the electric vehicle realm: range and cost. The world doesn’t electrify in the manner envisioned by our most revered environmentalists without affordability and the ability to drive to the next state and back on a single charge.

Which is why changes coming to the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt are worthy of note. An extra 21 miles of range, pushing the little hatchback ahead of the Hyundai Kona Electric by a single mile. However, while extra range is a nice-to-have, lower monthly payments might be even nicer for those who are already more than satisfied with a 238-mile driving radius. For these folks, the outgoing 2019 model might make a lot more sense, especially given the measures GM’s using to clear them from the lot.

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Ask Bark: Breaking The Cycle Of Negative Equity

When I was in high school, many moons ago, I had to recreate an historical debate in front of the class as part of a project for my American History class. I was assigned to take a “pro” position on the Three-Fifths Compromise (I don’t imagine that these sorts of things happen much in high school today). My opponent in the debate was a young lady who was, shall we say, a little different. She didn’t have many friends, she was socially awkward, and I’m not entirely sure that I’d ever actually heard her speak before.

We picked numbers out of a hat to see which one of us would go first, and she won. Right from the beginning, it was evident that things weren’t going to go well. She starting mumbling, inaudibly repeating the same thing over and over. Our teacher, a kind, and gentle man, asked her to speak just a little bit louder.

“Three fourths of a person, that’s all they were. Three fourths of a person!” And then she broke into hysterics and ran out of the room. The teacher sprinted out the door after her, returning after a few moments.

“Now, everybody,” he began, “Mary (not her real name) is our friend. When she comes back in the room, I ask each of you to treat her as our friend.” Let’s be honest. She wasn’t our friend. But in that moment, thanks to a kind word from our teacher, we did our best to treat her as one.

Here at Ask Bark, we get a lot of emails. As the curator of said emails, I do my best to answer all of them personally, even if I can’t dedicate precious ones and zeroes to them in this space. Some of them just aren’t interesting enough for me to dedicate an entire column to answering — it’s often as simple as “Don’t go to that dealer if they’re pulling that garbage on you,” or, “No, it’s never a good idea to spend all of your money on a used German car that’s out of warranty.” Stuff like that.

But every so often, I get an email that both excites and terrifies me, because I know that there is sufficient content within for a good column, but will also likely expose the writer of the correspondence to the combined vitriol of TTAC’s Best & Brightest. Today is such a day. So, everybody, Tom is our friend. After you’ve read his email, I ask each of you to treat him as our friend.

Here we go.

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Looking to Get Into a Jeep Gladiator on the Cheap? Keep an Eye on Lease Offers

The Jeep Gladiator, a vehicle seven-slot aficionados spent decades begging for, is now on sale, offering buyers a pickup, sedan, off-roader, and convertible, all wrapped in one unmistakable vehicle.

This being a truck, prices naturally range from somewhat reasonable ($35,040 after destination for a base Sport) to exorbitant, but those not looking for a long-term commitment might find that leasing a Gladiator will give them — by far — the best bang for their buck. Thank sky-high residual values.

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Tesla's $35k Model 3 Destined to Be a Ghost

If you can find a Tesla store (that’s still open), and someone working in it, maybe you can buy … a Model 3 Standard Range.

Yes, the $35k car promised three years ago during the Model 3’s launch, and hyped to infinity in the months and years since, stands to become as shadowy and elusive as the A-Team. In yet another raft of changes to its Model 3 line announced Thursday night, the automaker ensured the Standard model’s status as a rare bird.

Offered by a company that’s moved to online ordering, the Standard model will not be available for ordering online. Hey, don’t be confused — there’s a solid explanation!

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Porsche Figures a Subscription/Leasing Plan Just Might Discourage Flippers

Ultra-rare automobiles have a tendency to be scooped up by speculators hoping to turn a buck. Manufacturers hate this, as they see none of that sweet, secondhand scratch — plus, the vehicles frequently end up as garage queens tucked away from the public eye. While a bit of a grimy move, it’s easy to understand why someone might be willing to fall from a manufacturer’s good graces so they can flip an already expensive automobile for several times what they paid.

Automakers have come up with interesting ways to circumvent the problem, often establishing hard limits on when a customer can resell a particularly in-demand model, but it never manages to stop it from happening entirely. However, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume thinks he has a novel solution — one that we’re a bit torn on.

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Returning Lessees Should Be Prepared for a Price Shock

While U.S. new vehicle sales are expected to drop in 2019, average transaction prices and interest rates are climbing fast. That spells a potential bad day ahead for drivers reaching the end of their lease, Edmunds warns.

Those looking to get behind the wheel of a new sedan in the coming year might have to spend some quality time with a calculator.

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Tesla Leasing Partner Embroiled in Financial Trouble

Tesla’s Dallas-based leasing partner, MUSA Auto Finance, finds itself in a tough spot. Apparently, the business is having trouble keeping up with all the business the automaker is doing. Founded in 2016, MUSA joined up with Tesla in June of this year. However, it has reportedly been unable to finance new leases since October.

According to Automotive News, Tesla caused MUSA’s leasing volume to increase by a factor of six between August to September. As of December, MUSA dealer clients said lease approvals have yet to resume — leaving some dealer partners up a creek without a paddle and some customers without their car.

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Fresh Off the Boat, Hyundai's Veloster N Makes for a Dicey Lease Deal

Hyundai’s hottest hatch isn’t breeding any smoking lease deals. The pinnacle of the revamped, second-generation Veloster three(?)-door definitely puts the power down, providing a Korean entry in a class dominated by Germany, Japan, and, until recently, America (via Germany), but the first lease seen for the Veloster N might leave potential owners shopping elsewhere.

There’s cheaper alternatives for those wanting 250-plus horsepower in a small package.

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  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3SpeedAutomatic At this time, GM had a "Me Too" attitude towards engine development:[list][*]the Euro luxury brands have diesels, so can we via an Olds V8[/*][*]variable value timing, welcome to the brave new world of Cadillac V8-6-4[/*][*]an aluminum block V8 engine via the HT4100, the go-go 80's[/*][*]double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, no sweat, just like the Asian brands via NorthStar. [/*][/list]When you mindset is iron block and cast iron heads, life if easy. However, each time, GM failed to understand the nuances; intricate differences; and technical difficulty in each new engine program. Each time, GM came away with egg on its face and its reputation in ruin.If you look today, the engines in most Cadillacs are the same as in many Chevrolets. 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉