Two Classes of Toyota-built Sports Coupe and the $5 Difference

With the aggressively styled LC 500 garnering most of the Lexus coupe headlines, what with its eight-cylinder engine and look-over-here sheetmetal, its RC stablemate often gets short shrift. Meanwhile, the more attainable Toyota 86 (formerly the Scion FR-S) seems to make headlines for not offering extra horsepower than for anything else.

America is not a forgiving place for coupes these days.

Still, which of these rear-drive Toyota-built coupes holds the most appeal to a buyer? The 86’s handling and youthful intentions aside, it’s arguably the RC, as Lexus’s coupe offers more interior room, horsepower, and clout. Even the base RC 200t, which becomes the RC 300 for 2018, brings a 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter to the table, handily besting the 86’s turboless 2.0.

Of course, it’s not really a fair comparison. The price gulf between the two models is quite significant. Or is it?

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We Beseech You: Do Not Lease an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, at Least Not Yet

MSRPs aren’t meaningless.

Okay, sometimes they’re meaningless. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price — dealer may sell for less, or more — is just one element of a new vehicle acquisition’s true cost. For most vehicles, the MSRP is just the starting point for negotiations, which won’t truly begin until you have a clear idea of the automaker’s incentive load. Employee pricing. Anniversary bonus. Labor Day credits. Red tag deals. Summer clear out. Memorial Day rebates. July 4th blowouts.

Then there’s the interest rate equation, which will change based on credit, term, and numerous other factors. Next, apply unappetizing dealer fees. And now, if you’re considering leasing, throw another whole set of numbers into this kettle of fish.

Out comes a lease payment for the $73,595 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio that’s nearly double the cost of a BMW M3; a lease payment 77-percent higher than on the Cadillac CTS-V, even though the CTS-V’s MSRP is 17-percent higher.

We urge you: please do not lease an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio until terms change.

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Now Is the Time to Get Yourself a Midsize Sedan on a Dirt Cheap Lease Deal

“Stepping up to a midsize is basically a no-brainer for buyers at this point,” CarsDirect’s senior price analyst Alex Bernstein tells TTAC.

With demand for midsize sedans drying up, deals on aging models are warming up.

Now in its sixth model year, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S — the entry-level Passat — is available in June for a 36-month lease at $189 per month and $1,999 due at signing.

The 2017 Honda Accord, a new version of which is due later this year, is also available in June in basic LX trim on the same terms.

Meanwhile, the mid-grade 2017 Toyota Camry SE 2.5, set to be replaced in the coming months by an all-new model, is likewise available in June for $189 per month with $1,999 down over 36 months.

“This is about as cheap as lease deals have ever been on these midsize sedans,” Bernstein says. But it actually gets even cheaper, marginally cheaper, according to CarsDirect’s examination of 500 lease deals.

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Too Hot: Killer Lease Deal Got German Peugeot Managers Fired

When you’re hot, you’re hot. And when you’re the architect of a leasing promotion gone bad (by way of being too successful), you’re fired.

PSA Group reportedly canned its top German managers after a scorching lease deal on Peugeot 208 hatchbacks sent the country’s residents clamoring for wildly discounted French cars.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

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BMW Under Investigation Over Car Leasing Practices to Military Members

The U.S. Justice Department requested information from BMW AG’s leasing unit last year, hoping to get a handle on how it deals with delinquent payments from military personnel. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is intended to provide a wide range of protections for individuals required to enter active duty by suspending certain civil obligations, including outstanding credit card debt and auto leases.

However, BMW’s Financial Services said it doesn’t know how many of its leases might be affected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act’s terms. That’s not a great position to be in when federal law explicitly bans any action or penalty against currently deployed military personnel.

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The Ford Focus Electric is Now the Cheapest Car in America

The Ford Focus Electric is one of the most unloved models in North America right now, and its lonely existence translates into big savings for thrifty shoppers willing to make do with a less-capable EV. Ford cut $6,000 from the car’s price in 2015, and sales continued to fall despite a $4,000 price reduction the year before. You can also lease one right now for little more than a smile and a handshake.

Electric cars remain a difficult sell, especially considering there is always something better right around the corner, but leasing them is exceptionally popular — comprising roughly three-quarters of the EV market. It makes sense when lease-rate comparisons typically work out to EVs being more affordable than a similarly priced internal combustion vehicle.

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Millennials Like Cars (Full Stop) and Are Warming up to Leasing

It’s long past time to put the bike (myth) away.

Outside of certain urban centers, Millennials are cuckoo for cars. Jobs and families and lifestyles, you see. As more members of the youngest car buying cohort show up at dealers looking to sign on the dotted line, their method of payment is evolving, too.

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News Round-up: Volkswagen To Cut 40+ Models, Tesla Asks 'Are You Sure You Want That?', and Even Millennials Don't Want to Share Leases

Volkswagen is rumored to cut some 40-plus models from its worldwide fleet as it ushers in a new era of electrification.

That, Tesla wants you to order something now instead of waiting until later, and millennials are just like the rest of us … after the break.

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News Round-up: Nikola Motors Mirage, Mexico City Experiencing Shanghai Noon, and Nissan Gets Corny With Fuel Cells

Is this big rig the real life? Or is it just fantasy?

Nikola Motors, the company that recently sprouted out of the proverbial ether to announce a $350,000+ turbine-electric-powered Class 8 truck, claims it’s taken in $2.3 billion in pre-orders. Say what now?

That, the air in Mexico is thick with pollution, Nissan is bridging the gap to hydrogen with a corny solution, and BMW has solved the leasing bubble … after the break!

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In Electric Leasey-Land, Up Is Down And Suburbans Are Cheaper Than Tahoes

Okay, I admit: I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. It’s not really for me; Mrs. Baruth works in finance. (Without which, as you pimps and players out there should know, there’s no romance.) Rarely do I read the whole thing. This past Saturday afternoon, however, I broke the pull-cord of my son’s TopKart. Then he ran out of gas for his motorcycle. Which consigned us both to an early afternoon inside the house, because I was too lazy to address either situation.

Imagine my surprise to find an advertisement for an independent leasing agent in the last of the Saturday sections, back among the lifestyle articles and the usual Dan Neil attempt to sound like a more fey version of Oscar Wilde. Those members of the B&B who were born prior to the release of “Appetite For Destruction” will remember that stand-alone leasing shops were once very big business. They bought their cars from franchised dealers, often well after they’d obtained the customer’s signature on their own paperwork, and they relentlessly cross-shopped banks for rate and residual deals.

Often, these firms focused exclusively on members of the professional class; the big hitter in central Ohio during the ’80s was un-self-consciously titled “Physicians Leasing Co.” They were largely driven from the field by the beginning of this century by aggressive captive finance providers like BMW Financial. The tendency on the part of most banks to view the end-of-lease termination process as an additional and very lucrative profit center, a tendency that became more exaggerated as the prime rate fell and banking profits sank accordingly, didn’t help their business model one bit.

Nevertheless, here we are, in $THE_CURRENT_YEAR, with a manufacturer-agnostic leasing company advertising in the WSJ. So let’s see what the deals are, and what lessons we can learn from looking at them.

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Toyota and Volkswagen to Ride-Sharing Companies: 'Take Our Money!'

Not wanting to be left out of the mobility party, Toyota and Volkswagen recently invested in two ride-sharing companies, becoming the latest automakers to sink cash into the sharing economy.

Toyota invested a rumored $100 million in the ubiquitous ride-sharing company Uber, while Volkswagen, which has to meter out its dough carefully (thanks to a pesky little scandal), dropped $300 million on Uber’s taxi-hailing rival Gett.

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Eyes Without a Face: Restyled Tesla Model S Revealed

Grilles are so 20th century.

As we speculated last week, Tesla has put a new face on its Model S, doing away with the faux grille designed to trick people into thinking there was something combusting under the hood.

The new front end is a corporate amalgam of the both the recently unveiled Model 3 sedan and Model X SUV. Tesla apparently thinks that society has progressed enough to accept the disappearance of an air-sucking mouth at the front of a car.

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No Fixed Abode: Who Can Afford a New Car, Anyway?

It’s just the title of a recent Charlie Hunter album, but it says a lot about life in post-2008 America: Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead.

Here’s one example: According to Business Insider, the average middle-class family can no longer afford the average new car. Is that true? And if it is true, how and why did that happen, and what can be done to fix this sad state of affairs?

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Sales Are Rising, But Incentive-Happy Automakers Are Kneecapping Profits

Light vehicle sales haven’t peaked in the U.S., but the way they’re being sold is putting automakers in some financial peril.

That warning was delivered by Thomas King, vice-president of the Power Information Network, ahead of this weekend’s National Automobile Dealers Association, Wards Auto reports.

Speaking at the J.D. Power Automotive Summit, King said retail sales of cars and light trucks will rise this year and next, even after a very healthy 2015. Last year saw 14.2 million units reach customers, with volume projected to hit 14.7 million in 2017.

Despite moving more vehicles and rising MRSPs, automakers risk forgoing the financial benefits due to incentives and a growing trend towards leasing.

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Act Fast, and Get a Ford Focus Electric for Pennies

If you live in California and your demographics are right, your electric car dream is within reach. Yes, even you, baristas and struggling actors!

The website Leasehackr stumbled upon a killer deal for lower-income Californians (assuming they live near charging stations), and spelled out how leftover 2015 Ford Focus Electrics can be leased for essentially nothing.

If your personal life aligns with Ford’s customer incentives and California’s revamped EV rebate program, it can be done.

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  • Jpolicke Jaguar started making cars that were dead ringers for Kia Optimas, but less reliable. They now look like everything and nothing; certainly nothing to aspire to.
  • ToolGuy I would answer, but the question might change again, and then where would we be? Also, bran... wheat bran? Bran Castle? The coliva served at Bran Castle is made with wheat, I checked. (Some places use rice, because collectivism does not work.)
  • ToolGuy Learn to drive, people.
  • Corey Lewis I saw a TVR Griffith 500 (mfd 1990-2002) back in June 2014 at the Ault Park Concours, in a side parking lot. It had plates on it, but was MUCH too new to be in the US, especially so as the 500 was a later model 1993+. Luckily I took pics as proof!
  • Bd2 This is when BMW started to go downhill design-wise...