Leasing as a financing option for new vehicles in the US has grown 76% since Experian began publicly tracking the data in 2008, a study by Experian Automotive revealed.
The global information services provider found that this upward trend of leasing had resulted in a rising surplus of vehicles coming off lease.
According to Experian, more than 1.8m vehicles will come off lease between April and December 2016.
Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive finance for Experian, said: "With such a large volume of vehicles coming back into the market, consumers, dealers and lenders will want to better understand the options available to them so they are able to take action. Whether it is deciding to lease again or buy used, restocking inventory or marketing to potential borrowers, gaining insight into these trends will provide the knowledge necessary to make smarter decisions for all parties involved."
The study also looked at the areas that had the greatest volume of vehicles coming off lease. The top three geographic market areas were New York, Los Angeles and Detroit.
When looking at what vehicle types were leased most often, Experian found some significant shifts in consumer preferences. Current leasing vehicle segment preferences include entry-level crossover utility vehicles, standard midrange cars, lower midrange sedans, near-luxury/upscale vehicles and premium crossover utility vehicles.
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However, when looking at the vehicles currently being leased compared with those coming off lease, the analysis showed that there had been a surge in the percentage of full-size pickups and entry-level sport utility vehicles being leased, with growth of 56% and 79%, respectively.
On the other hand, upscale luxury vehicles and alternative-power/hybrid vehicles saw a decline in the proportion of on-lease versus off-lease vehicles by 28% and 50%, respectively.
"As vehicle prices have been on the rise, we have seen consumers using several tactics to keep their payments more manageable. Leasing over the past several years has grown as consumers are drawn to the lower monthly payment," said Zabritski and added: "What’s interesting, however, is that the types of vehicles are changing. Instead of fuel-efficient hybrids, consumers now are leasing full-size pickups, SUVs and CUVs. So, what happens three years from now? Will gas prices be what they are today, or will dealers have a more difficult time moving these types of vehicles when their leases mature?"
From a model perspective, the top leases returning to market (which represent 28 % of all leased vehicles returning to market) included Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Lexus RX 350 and Toyota RAV4.