Companies lease and finance for profit. In a lease you are simply paying for the depreciation of the vehicle (the portion you use). You aren't paying up front, you are paying over 3 years. The vehicle is going to depreciate more in the first year then you have paid for it. But it's a curve and your break even point is typically going to occur right around the time your lease matures, at which point you can extend your lease, purchase the car, or give it back.
You finance a car for 5 years and trade it after 3, you will still have negative equity unless you put. Large sum of money down. With a lease, you don't have that issue. The bank assumes the risk. If its worth more then the residual, great for them. If it is worth less then the residual...that's a risk they took and they were on the losing end. Most people trade every few years, leasing costs less then buying and trading. You also always have the latest in technology, safety, and a reliable car that won't break down, as well as one that will require minimal maintenance as you are always driving a late model car.
Leasing may not be for you, but it works for many people. I have purchased cars outright, financed cars as well as leased cars. And you can most def" get out of a lease early. There are a few ways to do it. Trade, sell, or have someone else assume your lease......which my friend just did with his BMW.