By David Thomas on March 23, 2009
Korean 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.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David