Ask a car salesman
It doesn't matter if you lease or buy it retail, your trade is worth the same. When you put cash down or trade equity into a lease you are simply pre-paying the lease. In this case the trade equity would make a dramatic difference to your payment, you could one pay it. It is what it is. Realize when you trade (and people miss this on a lease) that equity is all gone. Your lease payment will be tons different next time with no trade.
As far as a fair trade, dealers need to make money on everything they do. That includes your trade. When you trade to a dealer, no matter how you intend to pay for the new car, you are paying the dealer to sell your trade in. That means they will want to be somewhere in the wholesale area for actual cash value. Likely left of left side book. That is how you shop when you have a trade, let numbers of dealers hit it. Your trade is your greatest variable.
All these lease comments leave me with a question of my own. I currently have a 7 year old vehicle with no loan worth about 15-17 thousand. If I want to lease a vehicle will a dealer pay me a fair cash price for the difference of the value vs the lease down payment or am I much better off selling it on my own.
Been running the numbers on keeping current vehicle or lease/buy. Higher insurance costs on a new vehicle also seem to add quit a bit to the per year cost on a new vehicle with a teen driver on the policy. Otherwise it looks like a lease might be the way I go.
Invoice price represents a pretty good price on an F250 or F350. While the difference between invoice and MSRP on a $25,000 Ford Focus might be $750, on a super duty it could be anywhere from $4000 to $7000 depending on how expensive of a truck you are looking at. The amount of "room" left at invoice is just something called "holdback" which is like a reserve fund to help the dealership pay for the vehicles time on the lot.
Giving away an F250 or F350 for net-net-net (term dealers use to represent a complete wash and no profit) is fairly uncommon.
Three years experience selling Fords.
Migr8r, not a car salesman in any way but I would seriously look at Lenz trucks in Fon du Lac. I have bought a few trucks from them, amazing vehicles, a crazy amount of all trucks (last i think was 600 at an average on the lot) and great people all around. I just bought a 2017 F350 crew cab long box from them with under 200 miles on it for way, way under anything I could find from any dealer, which as you said were in limited supply. And one more plus they will deliver it free of charge if you dont have a trade in (mine was around 100 miles). One thing is with their pricing and selection is they move vehicles rapidly, so if you find one you like online, act pretty quickly. If nothing else its fun checking them all out online, happy truck hunting!
Yeah I've never put a dime down on either of my 2 leases... my dealer tells that all putting money down does is lower your payments so u can either pay that 2-3 grand down up front or over the course of your lease.. and same here only dings or scratches bigger than a dollar bill.. minor wear and tear is expected