When is ownership transferred when purchasing a vehicle?
If paid by cash/certified funds, you assume ownership when all funds have been received by the dealership, the legal documents have been executed, and ownership is transferred to you. If financing is secured in the form of a loan, ownership of the vehicle is transferred to you when all documents have been executed and the dealership transfers ownership to you; note that the institution that provides the financing will most likely hold a lien on the vehicle until the outstanding balance is paid, which means you cannot legally transfer ownership until the lien is cleared. When a lease period ends you forfeit the vehicle to the lessor, unless the lessor offers to sell the vehicle afterwards. During the entire lease period the lessor maintains ownership and simply allows you to use the car. Ownership is only transferred if you chose to buy the vehicle after the lease terminates.