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More women than men prefer auto leasing: study

August 30, 2013
Dealers may hesitate to classify their lease customers based on gender because both sexes are looking for good deals. But female leasing priorities can differ, according to some observers. 
Understanding those differences can help close a deal and boost customer satisfaction.
“Women have a more enjoyable experience when leasing,” said Anne Fleming, president of, a review service that certifies dealers who meet certain guidelines. “They feel less pressure.”
Women who lease from a dealership are more likely than men to recommend that store, she added. “Women are looking for more flexible options at the dealership,” and the relatively straight-forward nature of a lease contract is attractive to them.
Women upfront know the monthly payment, which often is lower than that of a purchased vehicle, so there is less haggling to get the best deal.
“Our research revealed women feel more confident (about leasing) and less confused,” Fleming said.
Dealers who want to draw more female lease prospects should advertise to inform women about leasing’s advantages, she said. “It comes down to educating and making things simpler. That, along with social media, is a key way to get women into the dealership.”
Women appear more budget-minded in selecting a leased vehicle. A survey of 700 drivers conducted jointly by and indicated men prefer to lease upscale brands such as BMW and Cadillac. Women learned toward Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. 
Low monthly payments were a priority for women, with 44 percent seeking to pay $299 or less, compared with 25 percent of men. Women preferred longer leases: 34 percent liked 36-month leases, while 40 percent of men favored 24-month leases.
“Absolutely, women lease because of the lower monthly payment,” said H. Paul Ritchie, president of Hagerstown Honda in Hagerstown, Md.
Ritchie leases to more women than men, but he also has more women customers overall. Knowing they “can turn and walk away when the lease payments are up” also appeals to women customers, Ritchie said.
Though much of the car’s maintenance is covered by the factory warranty, Hagerstown Honda sells a lot of maintenance plans to women lessees, Ritchie said. That allows for more personal financial-planning certainty.
“They know what their budget is on the car month after month,” he said.
Maintenance plans on leased vehicles are big selling points at Sierra Honda in Monrovia, Calif., said sales manager Ellen Leung. Her women customers like to buy oil-change, roadside-assistance and wheel-and-tire protection packages with their leases.
Women are more likely than men to lease a new vehicle — 21 percent compared to 18 percent, according to J.D. Power and Associates. Women ages 18 to 34 years old have the highest lease rates, at 26 percent.
The 2013 study confirms what dealers are seeing. Lower monthly payments, lower maintenance costs, a greater ability to obtain financing and the “deal” are factors for why many women lease rather than buy vehicle, the study determined. 
At Longo Toyota/Scion in El Monte, Calif., more and more women ask about leasing, said new-car sales director Aaron Misajon. He attributes that to Toyota’s aggressive ad campaign promoting leasing.
Another factor comes into play, too, Misajon said: “Women are more open to listening to the pros and cons of leasing. For a lot of men, if they are not interested in leasing, then they are done.”