Lease returns are a way to further build relationships with customers, Marion Harris, Ford Credit’s chief financial officer, said during an earnings call.
“The beauty of lease is that you get the opportunity to stay connected with customers,” he said, which helps improve overall brand loyalty. “We do not have specific rates on that, but we found that customers that finance through Ford Credit are 15 percentage points more loyal to Ford than those that do not.”
The company reported a lease return volume of 180,000 units in 2015, down from 189,000 units in 2014. “My guess is we’ll see about 200,000 units returning to Ford [this year], and we’ll do everything to make sure those customers get back into a Ford vehicle,” Harris said. “We have various programs for that,including our Early Bird program.”
The captive saw 9% growth in 2015 originations, ending the year at 1.3 million contracts. Earlier this month, Ford Credit introduced a lease-sharing pilot for parent Ford Motor Co., which allows three to six customers to share a single lease. The pilot is for a single market — Austin, Texas — for starters.