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Car leasing makes comeback

The availability of car leases practically disappeared during the recession.

But LeaseTrader.com says customer credit is recovering - and so is car leasing. 

John Sternal is Vice President of Marketing Communications for LeaseTrader.com.  He says more than 20 percent of new vehicles are now leased, including many small cars.

He says car leasing is more popular than ever before, because of a shifting attitude toward car ownership.

"Gone are the days when the majority of people will buy a car and hold onto it for fifteen years," says Sternal.

Leasing could make up more than thirty percent of the new car market by next year.

A growing number of those leases will likely be to customers with below average or sub-prime credit.

Sternal says there's not nearly the risk to the overall economy or the auto industry from subprime car leases, compared to the large risk involved in people taking out sub-prime mortgages, which led to the economic collapse.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.