Why the change? The quality of vehicles is up, from both domestic and import manufacturers, so consumers are less likely to experience a significant issue with a new (or used) vehicle than they were in decades past. The Internet provides a wealth of year-make-and-model-specific information for car shoppers, so known issues with a particular model can be addressed before cash changes hands.
In terms of lease acquisitions, there’s less risk than with buying a car outright. Most lease take-overs are for relatively short durations, so minor annoyances (squeaks, rattles, etc.) can be overlooked if the price is right. Since leased vehicles are generally covered under a manufacturer’s warranty, the risk of getting stuck with an expensive repair is particularly low.
Still, we drive enough cars from every manufacturer to know that there are cars built on a Monday and there are cars built on a Friday. We’ve experienced significant differences even between “identical” cars of the same year, make and model. Perhaps it’s because we’re car guys (and gals), but we’d have a hard time signing on any dotted line without first going over the car from front to back and top to bottom, then climbing behind the wheel for a test drive.
No one would consider buying a house sight unseen, and we feel the same way about our vehicles. What’s your take on this? Would you assume a lease without driving the car first? Would you buy a car sight unseen?