The Toyota brand's North American boss has a long-term homework project: Figure out a way to convert recent lessees-turned-buyers back into lessees three or four years down the road.

It’s a tough task, David Christ admits, and one that will require a lot of creativity to complete as inventory and reduced incentives have slashed leasing penetration this year. But given what a vital tool leasing historically has been for automakers and dealers, Christ says the industry will need to find an effective answer.

“Toyota’s leasing percentage right now is about 14 percent [of total sales], and it would normally be [near] 30 percent, so that’s 15 percent of business which is now in a retail contract instead of a lease,” Christ told Automotive News here on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show. “That’s a concern, because a customer on a lease cycle is normally back in three years, and it’s an automatic opportunity to re-lease them a new car or sell them a new car.”

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Toyota Wants More Leasing And Less Ownership

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