What Does Sign and Drive Really Mean?
“Sign and Drive” deals are great aren’t they? Like receiving a package, once you sign off on it, it’s yours. Well, take a step back there cowboy. Signing the contract for an automobile is always the end game, buy or lease. Is there really a difference between “Sign and Drive” deals and a regular lease? Maybe not.
A typical lease goes like this – 36 months, 10,000 miles per year, zero down payment. “Sign and Drive” deals are advertised the same way. So far, same thing. However, with a “Sign and Drive” deal, credit and credit history are going to play a role here.
Someone with an exceptional credit score and great credit history will be placed into one of several tiers that may also be referred to as levels or groups depending on the dealership. A tier is a level or grade that is given to an individual based on certain statistics. With both, credit score and credit history in good standing (exceptional, not just “good”), then someone would find themselves in the top tier with no down payment and the advertised monthly payment.
The lower on the tier ladder, the more the monthly payment will grow. Then there’s inception fees, something every car buyer or lessee will have to face. These include the dealer fee, taxes, tag and title fee, the first monthly payment, etc. Yes, there is no down payment, but with all of these fees put together, a car buyer or lessee is basically paying a down payment anyways.
That’s where the “Sign and Drive” ad gets most consumers. The idea of no down payment comes across as no payment whatsoever, not even inception fees. A _ true _ “Sign and Drive” deal asks for no money out of pocket. No down payment, no inception fees. That’s the phrase to look for in a “Sign and Drive” deal – “no money out of pocket.” Otherwise, go in knowing there will be fees to pay. Doing so will grant one a better car leasing experience and won’t feel like the dealership or car salesperson is trying to pull a fast one over them.