If it's not too personal,with interest rates so low and the stock market doing so well. Why would you invest in a car,which you know is losing money instead of the market which could post big gains?
It's not quite that simple. I've found I can regularly get better interest rates from my credit union than the money factor offered by the auto maker's finance arm. The exception is cars that are oversupplied and there are huge incentives on, but even December 2016 MDX has the most aggressive MF from Acura at .00060, I can still beat that on my own financing.
Also, in Texas (and some other states), when you trade-in a car, you get the value of the trade against the purchase price as a tax incentive. E.G. If you buy a $50K car and trade-in a $30K car, you only pay sales tax on $20K. Unfortunately, in Texas when you lease a car, you have to pay taxes on the entire car value and not the rental/lease portion, so this raises payments significantly.
As far as investing, we're talking about a not so huge difference between lease payment and finance payment.
Maybe you lease for $620 / month but you can finance for $770 / month, so it's only $150 difference. You own the equity and after three years you've only got two years til you own the car, versus with lease, you continue to extend $620 / month and never have a sell-able asset (whether depreciating or not).
Almost every smart financial person I know says the traditional purchase is the wiser choice over leasing. Exceptions are when it's a business purchase or in rare cases where the lease deals are just ridiculously good.
Most people I know that lease choose to do so for one of the following reasons:
1. Want new cars often and don't want to hassle with selling it themselves
2. They have limited cash flow and want to maximize their payment, getting them the best car they can afford for a fixed payment (short sighted investment planning)
3. They saw some TV commercial and it sounded so cheap
90+% of the people I know that lease have no idea how the lease works, and many times they're getting absolutely trolled by the dealer. Trapped by the "what payment would you like and we'll make it happen."