Hyundai Offers New Job-Loss Incentive

Joshua Duval
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2009 Kia Sedona Front View

Hyundai wasn't satisfied by simply having one of the best warranties in the industry with its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain protection. Now, in another bid to one-up their Japanese, German and American counterparts, Hyundai has penned a deal with Walkway USA LLC to allow its consumers to return their vehicles if they lose their jobs.

The new incentive program, which started last Friday, allows any Hyundai buyer who loses their job within 12 months of taking delivery of their vehicle to return the vehicle to the dealership without affecting the buyer's credit rating. As long as the vehicle is in an acceptable condition, the buyer has made all payments on time and can prove that they were laid off; all they have to do is turn in the keys and Walkway pays off the loans.

Joel Ewanick, Hyundai North America's vice president of marketing, says the program is garnering significant attention. "We have definitely touched a chord with consumers. We knew from doing a lot of research last fall that consumers weren't reacting to traditional tactics of automotive sales and marketing programs.

"The question for consumers right now is what is going to happen to their income in 2009. That's what is keeping them on their couches. No matter how big the rebate you put out, the real issue is fear," Ewanick said.

Hyundai has exclusive national rights to the program, although individual dealers can offer similar protection. Hyundai's program is complimentary-there is no extra cost to the consumer. Kia, Hyundai's affiliate, is not offering the program. Ewanick predicts competition to the program will emerge soon. "We expect this will probably get a few months, maybe less, of clear sailing," he said.

Source: Automotive News

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