No Need for Hyundai Assurance, Yet

2008veracruzKorean automaker Hyundai made a big splash in January when it announced an offer that allowed car buyers to return their new Hyundais with no negative equity if they lost their jobs. The company later enhanced the offer, saying it would pay three months of car payments before buying back the car if a buyer lost his job. The plan — running through April 30 — struck a chord with a shaky consumer base; so far, Hyundai sales for the year are on the positive side, unlike a majority of other brands.

On Friday, Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore confirmed that so far no one has used the program. It’s still early in the plan’s lifecycle and final March figures have not come in, but the fact that no buyer has taken advantage of it says that at least the 55,133 people who bought a Hyundai this year probably still have their jobs.

If few people do end up using the program, it could prove to be a cost-effective incentive for Hyundai. However, if the economy continues to deteriorate, it could also backfire. At least this program backfiring could only hurt Hyundai, unlike Chrysler’s $2.99 gas incentive from this past summer that has only harmed consumers who opted for that plan over traditional cash back. Gas hasn’t been over $3 a gallon since October, so those owners are getting no return.

Hyundai has a number of cash-back incentives on top of its Assurance Plus plan, which you can find here.

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By David Thomas | March 23, 2009 | Comments (3)

Comments 

Derrick G

I'll note again that the program requires that at least the first 2 scheduled payments have been made. It's only March and the program started in January. Very few people would qualify yet to return a vehicle, so no big surprise here. Many of those 55K+ people who've bought a Hyundai this year couldn't return their cars yet even if they needed to.

Definitely gotta hand it to Hyundai for playing with consumers' minds at EXACTLY the right moment...

Plus, even those who aren't in danger of losing their jobs, and won't take up the offer might purchase a Hyundai because they think Hyundai's doing the right thing.

I haven't read the details closely, but I don't think Hyundai is on the hook period. This is done through an insurance-type company. Hyundai has essentially paid a one-year premium for job-loss insurance. So their costs are fixed.

Or maybe I misread the original release?

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