Although it’s been in effect for over a year, Hyundai says fewer than 75 customers have taken advantage of its Assurance Program and actually returned vehicles.
In January 2009, when the world’s financial crisis was in full effect, Hyundai launched its assurance program. The promotion allows new owners to return a vehicle for a variety of reasons within the first year of ownership. Reasons to return a vehicle include involuntary unemployment, physical disability, and international employment transfer. A customer must have made two scheduled payments, and Hyundai covers no more than $7500 in negative equity.
As Hyundai sought to gain U.S. market share, it needed something special to help continue its streak of record sales. The program was seen by some within the company as a risk, but the reward is evident. Hyundai can’t precisely attribute how many sales stemmed from the program alone, but it’s likely the “safety blanket” played a large part in the automaker selling 435,064 cars last year in the U.S. alone.
A company spokesman said Hyundai couldn’t put a finger on why its return rate was so low, but said it was “good news that so few people were losing their jobs.” Thus far being a huge success, Hyundai has renewed its program for 2010, and will continue to evaluate its effectiveness for the future.