Ever considered combining your hunt for a new car with a trip? Surprisingly, an increasing number of Americans are doing just that. Thanks to the ease of online shopping, automotive tourism — in which customers search for vehicles outside their hometown, travel there and then drive their new car back home — is on the rise.According to the online leasing website LeaseTrader.com, the number of customers taking over existing leases from someone in another region rose by 15 percent in 2010 alone. And of all lease transactions taking place today, roughly 38 percent of them occur between individuals in different regions (even between New York and California), with a whopping 54 percent traveling to pick up their vehicle (a jump from just 12 percent five years ago).
The major motivations here are price and customization: In addition to avoiding the down payment usually associated with buying or leasing a new car, customers can choose from a larger pool of vehicles for deals that fit their needs. If you’ll be looking for a new car in the near future, we suggest you head to one of these five cities, labeled top automotive-tourism destinations by Lease Trader.com: