LOS ANGELES -- American Honda may be No. 5 in sales in the United States, but its captive finance arm is No. 1 in an increasingly important arena: leasing.
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In the first quarter, American Honda Finance lease deals accounted for more than 16 percent of all new-vehicle lease transactions industrywide, according to Experian Automotive. That led Toyota Financial Services, Ford Motor Credit and Nissan Infiniti Financial, which all had about 11 percent share of the leasing market.
"With Honda, there is a stronger emphasis and push on leasing products," said Melinda Zabritski, Experian's director of automotive credit.
As the economy rebounds, leasing is becoming a larger part of many automakers' finance portfolios. LeaseTrader.com predicts leasing could represent as much as 40 percent of the new-vehicle market by 2020, up from about 10 percent in the depths of the recession.
According to Edmunds.com, leasing represented 21 percent of all transactions in the first quarter of 2012, down from 24 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
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