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Why Buy a Maybach When You Can Lease One?

America's luxury car enthusiasts are feeling the adverse effects of the economy just like the rest of us.

But while many have beat the economic crunch by settling for something more Ford (F) than Ferrari, a few have found a unique way to smartly handle their money without giving up their dream machine -- by leasing.

If it's synonymous with exotic luxury, you can still probably get it with a lease, and often for less money than you might think.

That's all thanks to a few companies that specialize in personalized leases for everything from million-dollar Italian sports cars to vintage American muscle, enabling high-end car aficionados to remain in the driver's seat without raiding the retirement fund.


The two largest of these companies are Putnam Leasing and Premier Financial Services, which offer such tempting rides as the Rolls Royce, Lamborghini (VLKAY), Aston Martin, Maybach, and more.

The reason this practice hasn't been prevalent in the past is that these ultra-expensive exotic or vintage models do not change in value the same way a standard Jeep (GM) Cherokee, Toyota (TM) Corolla or Honda (HMC) Civic does, so regular dealerships or banks are loath to risk estimating an end residual value to commit to a lease contract.

"We are essentially dealing with either an appreciating asset, or at least one that is much slower than normal to depreciate," says Premier founder and president Mitch Katz. "Because we have the experience to know this niche market very well, there is not as much risk for us as it initially appears" in comparison to other dealers. And when you're dealing with cars that can reach millions of dollars in sale price, you better make sure you know the risk you're taking when creating what essentially amounts to a rental contract.

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