GM Financial Considering Auto Lease Program for Near-Prime and Subprime Shoppers

Car shoppers who want to lease a General Motors vehicle but don’t have prime credit scores might be in luck. The automaker’s new captive finance company, GM Financial, announced this week it is looking to expand its prime lease program to near-prime and subprime customers, SubPrime Auto Finance News reports.

By providing auto loans and leases to consumers with a broader range of credit scores, GM will sell more cars. The automaker said in May of last year that a shortage of subprime auto loan lending was holding back sales in the U.S.

At that time, GM’s top North American executive Mark Reuss said that Honda was getting 20 percent of its sales and leases from subprime buyers. GM was getting only 1 percent because it couldn’t access the money to loan to those customers.

"They’re able to finance their cars at a much lower level than we are," Reuss said in May, 2010. "I’m not sure what the answer is. But it would sure help my sales, the company’s sales in North America, if we were able to get access."

Now that GM has purchased AmeriCredit to help fund auto loans for its subprime buyers, it makes sense that GM Financial would want to expand leasing options for subprime shoppers as well.

"We recently launched our prime lease program for GM dealers in December 2010, and it was very well-received by dealers," Caitlin DeYoung, VP of investor relations, told SubPrime Auto Finance News. "We have since made the program available to GM dealers in 15 additional states and look for the lease program to be available nationally by this summer. We are looking to expand our prime lease program to near-prime and subprime customers and plan to expand the program to Canada this year. We are committed to providing dealers more financing options and will continue to look to develop other programs and products to help dealers sell more vehicles."