The decision on whether to buy or to lease a car is influenced by two major aspects of an individual: the financial position or priorities he or she has as well as his or her personal references in terms of what ownership of a car would mean to them.
The financials, we would hope, take top spot in this one, one would hope, though of course human decision making is as subjective with purchases as it is with everything else. If you can afford to buy a new car, then this may be the preferred option. You are able to recoup most of the money if you get one whose market re-sale value is high and if your insurance and maintenance are up to scratch.
Also, if you are employed, it is easy for you to get a loan that can help with financing your preferred dream car. The significant increase in low-interest financing and cash-back offers makes loan financing an attractive option and thus means more and more people prefer buying to leasing a car.
In fact, in the current global economy, with fuel prices rising and lease payments almost equivalent to car-financing payments, leasing is increasingly a less financially viable option.
Leasing has always had the a number of traditional advantages, which include the ability to upgrade quickly to another model and enjoy new technological and safety benefits from newer models. It also helps the person leasing the vehicle to actually enjoy a comprehensive test-drive period of sorts before deciding on whether he should purchase the vehicle while at the same time removing that old albatross that comes with car-purchasing: you have an asset that has a depreciating value.
But these advantages can be eaten into by a number of considerations, including the fact that maintenance is a prime condition of the leasing process, and the constant payments (which, unlike financing, do not result in ownership of the vehicle) can be moral sapping.
Comprehensive insurance for a purchased vehicle, which is also a definite on one which has been financed means the burden of servicing and maintenance is not carried by the person purchasing the vehicle, as opposed to someone leasing.
And with cars built to last longer and upgrades to them made easier over the years, the benefits of new technology can be added without necessarily changing cars, which is a significant advantage that leasing may have had in the past.
Against a backdrop of paperwork and red-tape involved in the leasing process as well as the fact that it only really makes financial sense if you want to write it off as a business expense (for a firm) or if you are dealing in a market with rising interest rates (this making car financing more costly), leasing rarely holds the edge over actual car ownership.
And besides, for the individual, there is always the satisfaction of knowing that the car in your garage or parked in your drive way is your car.