When we opened in 2002, our specialty was new vehicle leasing, and today new vehicles still account for roughly half of our business. At Brazelton Auto we simplify the process for our clients by offering flat fees with transparent costs, competitive trade-in bidding and turnkey transactions. We even collaborate with a number of banks to provide flexible funding options for your new vehicle.
We will happily accept your trade-in and determine its value through a competitive bidding process. First our agents determine the car’s value; we then have both the dealer and a wholesaler determine its value independently, ensuring you receive the best possible value for your old car. Over 80% of the time we can significantly beat the dealerships offer. And we always keep this process entirely transparent to our clients, never over-allowing or undervaluing your trade.
Above all we value you and your time. Rather than requiring hours spent at a traditional dealership, the majority of the transaction with our client is handled via email. When you arrive at Brazelton Auto, the typical documents are ready, and generally completed within 10 minutes; no surprises, no add-ons. We then take you through a guided tour of your new vehicle, explaining all features and answering any questions.
Should I lease or purchase?
When considering whether to lease or buy a new vehicle, there are several points to consider. In general, there are two primary reasons to opt for a traditional lease. First, if you plan on trading vehicles regularly (every 2-3 years), a traditional lease provides a set, future floor value for the vehicle and you can keep any equity above that residual value. This protection is most valuable during the first few years of ownership when depreciation varies most.
Second, traditional leases can allow you the ability to write off your vehicle for tax purposes. Leasing provides far greater tax advantages for mid-range to expensive sedans, and other vehicles under 6k pounds GVWR. Those considering vehicles over 6k GVWR, however, are more often better served with a purchase or Capital lease.
Additionally, there are several minor advantages to leasing, including lower maintenance and repair expenses, and the comfort of continually driving late model vehicles.
If, on the other hand, you intend to drive a car for a longer term (4+ years), buying is the most economical means to do so. Further, purchasing a vehicles is also more flexible than leasing, should you want to trade in your car sooner than expected.
Early termination of a traditional lease generally results in more negative equity (lower payments equates to a higher payoff), and typically includes a penalty of ½ – 2 payments.
Often people opt to purchase a vehicle so they can build equity; however vehicles are an expense, not an investment, and your goal should be to minimize the expense. Having equity in a deteriorating asset does not necessarily make that asset better. And while paying cash for a vehicle can reduce the negative impact of the deterioration of value by reducing interest expense, the direction of the asset's value remains negative.
Our recommendation is to focus on the total expense. Ignoring possible tax benefits, if you will drive the car for an extended period, a purchase (or 1-Pay or Amortized lease) will be less expensive than a traditional lease. If, however, you would like to drive a newer vehicle on a shorter cycle, consider a Traditional lease. But be mindful, some overestimate the length they will drive a vehicle and trade out more frequently than expected, losing the benefits of both leasing and purchasing.
What is Brazelton Auto’s fee on new vehicle leases?
All new vehicles have a flat, one time fee of $1,250.
I can write my vehicle off for tax purposes. What is the difference between an Operating and a Capital lease, and which has better tax benefits?
If the lessor (bank) maintains the risks/benefits of ownership, the lease is considered an operating lease; if the lessee (user) maintains the risks/benefits of ownership, the lease is considered a capital lease. The primary determinant between the two is residual value--the predetermined estimated value of the vehicle at the end of the lease. A residual of over 10% is typically classified as an operating lease, as the lessor has the risk of value at end of term. If, on the other hand, the residual is under 10% (typically $1 on these types of leases), the risk/reward of ownership are with the lessee, and so it is considered a Capital lease.
From a tax and accounting standpoint, Operating leases are expensed as the payments are made (to the degree the vehicle is used for business purposes). The vehicle is not listed as an asset or liability on your balance sheet (if in your company name). A capital lease is treated just like a purchase from a tax/accounting standpoint.
If the vehicle you’re considering is under 6k pounds GVWR (cars, small or medium SUV), an Operating lease is generally the best alternative. If the vehicle is over 6k pounds, the Capital lease is probably preferred due to the large first year depreciation available for assets purchased (the exception being if you’ll exceed $1M in Section 179 depreciation).
How is a lease payment calculated?
Lease payments have two components – depreciation and interest. Depreciation is the difference between the capitalized cost (i.e. loan amount) and the residual value. Divide the total depreciation by the number of payments gives the depreciation component.
Interest on a lease is termed a money factor. Add the cap cost and the residual and then multiply by the money factor to get the interest component. Add the depreciation and interest components to the total full payment. To find the effective interest rate, multiply the money factor by 2,400.
Are there Hidden Fees when leasing a vehicle?
Traditional leases generally include a bank acquisition fee, which can range from $700 to $1000. This fee covers residual insurance and sometimes GAP insurance.
There is also typically a termination fee ranging from $350 to $500 at the end of the term, depending on whether the lessee purchases the vehicle off lease, or returns it. Our Brazelton One-Pay lease do not include a bank acquisition fee or termination fee.
Finally, if the mileage allowance is exceeded, or the vehicle has excessive wear and tear, there will be additional charges.
What is the trade-in process?
We ask you to bring the vehicle by our office so we can create a detailed description (including photos) of the vehicle. We then use that information to collect bids from several sources, and use the highest bid as your trade-in value.
What is the process for leasing a new vehicle?
After you have selected a vehicle (make, model, options, color, etc.) we will send you manufacturers invoices with all pertinent information and our price. If you are trading-in a vehicle, wholesale bids will also be included (see above). You then simply select which particular structure to utilize based on your needs and, if requested, our recommendations.
Once a lease structure is selected, the new vehicle is sent to our location and we schedule a closing appointment at your convenience. At the closing appointment we will review the vehicle with you, explaining all its features and options, accept your trade-in if applicable, and complete the necessary paperwork with previously agreed upon numbers. Closing takes about 10 minutes; no Upsell, no Surprises. Then we’ll spend the next 30 minutes to an hour walking you through the particulars on your new vehicle.
If I am looking for a truck or van over 6000 pounds, should I buy it for section 179 depreciation?
Most likely, yes. Vehicles over 6k pounds are eligible for Section 179 depreciation for qualifying companies, allowing up to $1M in first year depreciation if purchased (capital lease treatment is the same). This is a generous depreciation allowance, and should be taken advantage of to the extent possible. However, Section 179 depreciation is limited to roughly $1M annually and includes many kinds of capital acquisitions. If you have over $1M in Section 179 acquisitions, the balance is subject to normal IRS depreciation caps. Vehicle depreciation is more constrained than other capital purchases, so generally it’s better to put other types of equipment into 179 first, then run your heavy vehicles through an operating lease.