WaveRunner program creates ownership path for new group of consumers
With data showing that 25 percent of all automobile transaction are leases — and 50 percent when high-end autos purchases are considered — the opportunity to lease would seem to be a welcome addition for powersports dealers.
Thanks to a new program being launched in 2014 by Yamaha WaterCraft, dealers will be will be able to offer an industry first-of-its-kind leasing program for new WaveRunners.
Customers will be able to consider the familiar, automobile-like lease plans for their next WaveRunner purchase. The program is designed for consumers who may not qualify for conventional OEM financing programs or those looking for the flexibility of a lease that includes the option to return or purchase the WaveRunner after 36 or 48 months.
According to Bryan Seti, Yamaha WaterCraft national marketing manager, the goal of the leasing program is to get more people on the water. Seti said that upwards of 90 percent of the consumers who choose to lease a new Yamaha WaveRunner will qualify.
“Many of these consumers currently lease a car or have had a great experience leasing a car in the past. For them, the flexibility of leasing is preferable to purchasing,” Seti said. “And if these consumers decide to purchase the WaveRunner in the future, they now have the option to do that after 36 months, or simply bring it back at the conclusion of their payment schedule.”
The program has already launched in six states — California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Georgia and Florida. Four of the six are among Yamaha’s top five markets, Seti said.
“It’s a program that will be appeal to a secondary customer base, which is customers that typically haven’t been approved — more of a distressed, subprime customer,” he said. “They’ve not only not been approved by us in the past, but they haven’t been approved by our competitors, either.”
Seti notes that the program requires no minimum FICO credit score, and the minimum gross monthly income for lease participants is $1,500.
“There’s no dealer recourse whatsoever,” Seti said. “At the end of that 36 or 48 months, the unit actually goes back to the leasing partner that we’re working with. The leasing partner will either make an offer to the dealership to buy it, or take it to auction at that point. This is a true lease for prime and subprime customers. You can walk away in three or four years.”
Seti says the program will give dealers another avenue to bring new PWC owners into the market.
“There’s no reason for any customer to walk out the door. With this program, and our traditional financing programs with GE Capital and Capital One, dealers have a whole arsenal in their tool chest to find something for each customer,” Seti said. “Many customers are going to go into the dealership thinking they’re not going to be approved, and will be pleasantly surprised that they will be approved.”
With Yamaha’s VX line sitting as the No. 1-selling entry-level brand for about a decade, the leasing program likely will likely build on those sales. Whether entry-level or high-end, the leasing program figures to bring new faces into dealerships.
And while the leasing program is available at dealerships in six states for its launch, Seti said more states will be added throughout 2014.
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