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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
WARNING: My experience with Ray Catena Mercedes (Edison) & Mercedes Benz of Freehold

Warning: My experience with Ray Catena Mercedes-Benz of Edison NJ and Mercedes-Benz of Freehold NJ.
Should I visit them again or go for Next dealer?

It's amazing how many people lease cars without having a clue as to how it works and don't evenknow how to calculate their monthly payment (I was one of them).

In late October 2013, I was looking for a second car (for my business), so I decided to lease 2014 CLA 250. Now it become very important for me to educate myself about the leasing process and the concepts associated with it (before I visit any dealer). By mid December after step-by-step process, I managed to gathers all necessary information via different forums and several Academic Websites.

1- Lease CLA 250 (2014) for 24months
2- Total coast US$35,355
3- 0 Down

I used simple Auto Lease Calculator from to find out my rough monthly payment. Auto Lease Calculator at
Now pay attention to step #4, To calculate your monthly payment you must have Lease Residual Value and Money Factor, which I found very strange that both dealership failed to reveal. Their answers was " Sorry can’t explain, computer does everything".

Please feel free to comment on this "why they must keep "Residual Value and Money Factor" secret (Keep in mind I told them use today's rate, like I am signing a lease today)

Following are two dealership I visited on 12/30/2013;
Mercedes-Benz of Freehold: 4380 Route 9 South Freehold, NJ 07728
Mercedes-Benz of Freehold | New Jersey New & Used Luxury Car Dealership | Serving Old Bridge, Howell, Marlboro & Monroe Township
Ray Catena of Edison: 910 Route 1 North, Edison, NJ 08817
NJ Mercedes-Benz dealers offer new Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, certified pre-owned cars, and Mercedes-Benz service in NJ

Now I walked into the Reception area;
I introduced myself to them and explain that I educate myself about the leasing process via different forums and several Academic Websites. Furthermore I requested to meet someone from sale department who is good in maths and less on sales pitch. I was impressed by both dealership, their staff was warm, friendly and accommodating

Shortly after I was introduced to sales representative (very Professional attitude and behavior) and walked with him to his office.
I gave him complete detail how I prepare myself via different forums and several Academic Websites and I am here only to do calculation which should not be taking over 15 minutes.

Now My question on Capitalized Cost (cap cost)
This is the most important part of a lease; It's the negotiated selling price of the car plus any additional fees you might want to include in the monthly lease payment (such as acquisition fee). The lower you negotiate the purchase price of the car, the lower your monthly payment will be.
Note: Most dealers will try to charge MSRP. Don't fall for that - negotiate just like you would if you were buying the car outright.

Me: What is my Capitalized cost on zero down on CLA 250
Freehold NJ: 29,900
Ray Catena: 29,900

Capitalized Cost Reduction (cap reduction)
This is basically anything that lowers the cap cost - such as a down payment, trade-in allowance, or rebates. Assuming you negotiated the purchase price at $25,000 and you put $3,000 as a down payment, your capitalized cost is now $22,000 and your capitalized cost reduction is $3,000

Me: I want Zero Down
Freehold NJ: Calculated my monthly payment on $1800 Down
Ray Catena: Calculated my monthly payment on $00 Down

Still both dealers refused (more than few time) when I asked them to show me how they calculate my payment. I don't know why

Adjusted Capitalized Cost (net capitalized cost)
It's the cap cost minus the cap reduction. This is the figure the leasing company will use to determine your monthly payments.

Me: Please explain
Freehold NJ: Sorry can’t explain, we just put numbers and computer does everything
Ray Catena: Sorry can’t explain, we just put numbers and computer does everything

Acquisition Fee
This is the fee leasing companies charge to arrange the lease and is usually just a straight profit for them. Not all leasing companies charge this fee, but when they do, it's usually between $400 and $750 - and it's not negotiable. The acquisition fee can be bundled into the monthly lease payment by adding it to the Capitalized Cost.

Me: what is your acquisition fee?

Freehold NJ: Sorry can’t explain, computer does everything
Ray Catena: Sorry can’t explain, computer does everything

Lease Residual Value
This is the amount your car is worth at the end of the lease. Let's say you purchased a car for $30,000. After 4 years, the depreciation on the car is $20,000 - therefore, the residual is $10,000. The residual value is calculated before you sign the lease. Most leasing companies use the Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG), an industry guidebook that calculates the predicted values of new cars after they come off lease.

Me: What is Residual value of CLA

Freehold NJ: It’s not possible to know what will be the market value of this car after 24 months.
(However, I noticed residual value written on paper once they calculate my monthly payment)

Ray Catena: Long explanations on why they can’t tell the market value of this car after 24 month, its simply not possible.

(So, I never got an answer, however they did calculate my monthly payments)

Money Factor
This is what confuses most people when it comes to leases. Money factor is actually pretty simple; it just refers to the interest rate but is calculated differently. (Again, car dealers love the confusion since it allows them to add in hidden profits)

Me: How do I know actual money factor rate in my payment?
Freehold NJ: Sorry we don’t know, computer does everything
Ray Catena: I just put everything in computer and it calculate everything for me

Me: How can I obtain a copy of lease agreement
Freehold NJ: Our policies doesn’t allow any one to take a look unless you are ready to sign
Ray Catena: It’s not possible, you can only see when you ready to sign, however you can try on line but I am doubt.

Finally, no break down on payment, simply refused.
I left the dealership however I was offered to memories my monthly payments because their policies won't allow any client to take any papers with them even thou it has my name on it.

Please feel free to add comment, I want to know what this community think is the best

7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
However, Received call from GM (Mercedes-Benz of Freehold), will visit him after 21st of this month.
Hopefully he may offer more detail on my purchase and I may become a successful CLA owner.
I will post complete detail once I visit Mercedes-Benz of Freehold.

My Gllardo may have company soon
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