Say goodbye to paying for miles you don't need.
Nissan has been keeping a close eye on car shoppers' changing needs and habits over the last two or so years. Based on this, the Japanese brand has introduced updates to both its leasing options and pre-owned program.
Rising gas prices, an increase in the number of people working from home, and a burgeoning used car market in the face of continued parts shortages have encouraged Nissan to make these changes which will be appreciated by both cash-strapped shoppers and those who don't drive as much as they did.
The first of Nissan's initiatives is its new SignatureFLEX lease program that starts with a low 5,000 miles per year. However, the flexible program allows more miles to be added if consumers require it.
Available for the Rogue, Rogue Sport, and Pathfinder, Nissan Motor Acceptance Co. (NMAC) is working towards extending the SignatureFLEX offering to further models early in 2023. Because consumers can't always predict their driving needs at the start of a new lease, and as many may or may not be working from home, the SignatureFLEX alternative is the perfect option.
Jim DeTrude, vice president of NMAC, told Automotive News that "a desire for a lower-mileage option" came from both customers and dealers. This follows Nissan's introduction of a 10,000-mile-per-year lease that the brand launched last year. It soon became the most popular option for new-car contracts, whereas in 2020, 67% of new-car leases were for the 12,000-mile-per-year option.
"I'd rather the term align with their driving habits and not where they're actually incurring additional expense versus drafting the lease initially at a 10,000- or 12,000-mile term," said De Trude. "It is a great option for someone that doesn't need as many miles but also wants the flexibility during the lease period rather than at lease end."
Additionally, Nissan will give customers the option for NMAC to access their odometer data. This is enabled via the in-vehicle Connected Car Services and will allow the company to send drivers personalized monthly messages about the mileage they're covering relative to the terms of the lease. If, for instance, a customer is on track to exceed the 5,000-mile limit, they can then be informed about the option to purchase more miles.
Scot Hall, executive vice president of operations for automotive lease marketplace Swapalease.com, said that 5,000-mile-per-year leases are more common for ultra-luxury vehicles from Porsche or Lamborghini, and pointed to the aftereffects of the pandemic to explain why this option is now reaching buyers in mainstream segments.
For customers shopping in the used car market, Nissan has now expanded its Certified Pre-Owned program to cover vehicles up to 10 years of age and which have covered up to 100,000 miles. Even these older, higher-mileage cars will now receive an 84-point inspection along with a six-month/6,000-mile limited warranty. Roadside assistance and one complimentary maintenance visit has been included to sweeten the deal.
This is a great time to consider discontinued Nissans like the 370Z or older versions of the Maxima, another sedan that will be discontinued next year.
The Certified Select program includes certain non-Nissan pre-owned vehicles, too, and gives buyers in this section of the market greater peace of mind than purchasing an older model from a random dealer without knowing for sure what problems may be awaiting them.
"As pre-owned vehicle sales continue to outpace those of new vehicles in the marketplace, Certified Select allows our trusted dealerships to offer more high-quality options for shoppers," said Dan Mohnke, vice president, eCommerce, Nissan USA. "And we've further committed to customer satisfaction by offering a seamless online purchase option and a complimentary maintenance visit."
Earlier this year, Honda and Acura also extended their certified used-vehicles program to cars that are up to a decade old. Clearly, automakers are responding to the demand for quality used cars, but Nissan has also gone a step further with its flexible lease program for customers who want to drive something new.