You have a good point.
I buy new and drive it at less ten years. You get price breaks if you let them finance, because they get a kick back.
Then after a few payment you pay it off. In the U.S you do not pay penalties for paying off early. They get even by just dropping your credit score 10 or 20 points, but if your credit score is 850 it does not matter.
There's very few that penalise early settlement - a few definitely do, but not many.
Maybe it's still a different finance model here though...
I think the most popular is a standard hire purchase - you pay a deposit of sorts (anything from a few pounds under special offers up to 10% or more of the sticker price), then monthly payments for 2-5 years.
At the end of the agreement you have choices:
Hand the car back and walk away
Hand the car back and start again with a new one
Pay the final 'balloon payment' which is usually around 50% of the sticker price and keep the car
The first two options are subject to inspection of the car, and there are (substantial) penalties for things like damage, aftermarket parts, different make if tyres, etc. For instance, a lot of agreements are based on say 8,000 miles a year - anything over that is charged at 20p+ per mile. I know someone who had their car sat on the drive unused for nearly a year to save going over the mileage...
Then there's "personal contract plans", which is basically a fixed term lease. My sister does this for her car and is constantly paranoid (when she handed the last car back for exchange she got charged hundreds for a few stone chips in the paint).
I'll stick to using up the last vestiges of life in cheap cars tyvm