NEWS

Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Uncertainty, Automakers Offer Peace of Mind Via Payment Relief

hyundai-sonata-hybrid-2020-pay-relief-coronavirus.jpg 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid | Manufacturer image

As uncertainty grows related to the COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on our economy and everyday life, some automakers are offering consumers a little bit of certainty.

Related: Coronavirus and Car Buying: What You Should Know

Audi

Audi and Audi Financial Services are offering payment relief options due to the ongoing pandemic. These programs are available through June 1. The brand says interested customers should access and manage their account online to request payment assistance or to extend their maturing lease agreement. Visit the Audi Financial Services site for more information.

Chrysler Pacifica Family Pricing

Chrysler knows that families will be hit hard by the economic effects of the virus, so it’s discounting its family mobile. With Pacifica Family Pricing, Chrysler says all customers get the same discount — no negotiations needed. Depending on the trim level, the discount is approximately $2,000-$4,000 on every model-year 2020 Chrysler Pacifica from the entry-level Touring to the topline Pacifica Hybrid Limited. The deal also includes 0% financing for 60 months, furthering the savings. In addition, there’s an option to defer payments for 90 days on gas-powered Pacificas. Check out Chrysler’s site for more information

Ford, Lincoln Assistance

After initially offering up to 90 days of delayed payment and encouraging customers who bought or leased a Ford or Lincoln vehicle to contact Ford Credit Support if they’re encountering difficulty paying as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Ford announced a more specific program that it says will give buyers up to six months of payment deferrals.

Under the Built to Lend a Hand program, eligible new-car buyers who finance through Ford Credit can have three months of payments covered by Ford, with an option to defer an additional three months. Model-year 2019 and 2020 vehicles — excluding model-year 2020 Super Duty pickup trucks — are eligible for this program.

Ford said customers may be able to change a payment due date or delay a payment; the automaker has created a special hotline for the program. Owners can call 800-723-4016, access their account through FordPass app or visit http://www.fordcreditsupport.com to discuss options.

Ford also launched the Ford Promise program, which allows eligible lease or purchase customers to return the vehicle if they lose their job within a year. The automaker said that it will value the car using the National Automobile Dealers Association average trade-in value and then reduce the customer’s outstanding balance by that amount. Ford will also waive up to an additional $15,000.

There are a couple of catches, however. The customer must pay back any difference remaining as well as any late or deferred payments and vehicle damage charges. Vehicles covered include model-year 2019-21 purchased or leased new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles financed through Ford Credit. Vehicles must be for personal use only, too, so no commercial vehicles are covered.

Customers can enroll in the program through Sept. 30 and the protection plan takes effect 30 days after vehicle purchase or lease. Visit Ford Promise for more information.

Genesis Cares Job Loss Protection

Hyundai’s luxury arm, Genesis, is offering a similar six-month payment relief program called Genesis Cares Job Loss Protection as well as a 120-day payment deferral option on model-year 2019 G70 sedans purchased at a Hyundai dealership and financed through Genesis Finance. In addition, it now offers existing owners who bought before March 14 and financed through Genesis a payment deferment of up to 90 days in case of job loss or medical issues.

“We understand the extreme uncertainty created by the coronavirus and the anxiety experienced by our customers, and wanted to tap into Hyundai’s legacy of having people’s back,” said José Muñoz, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Co., and president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, in a statement. “Bringing back the job loss protection program in this unprecedented time will allow our customers to have one less thing to worry about if something unexpected happens to their employment status.”

Hyundai originally launched the Assurance Job Loss Protection program in January 2009 in response to the financial crisis and recession, but it was a little different. The prior program allowed customers to return the vehicle if they lost their job. It proved successful in both offering shoppers peace of mind and driving car sales.

GM Assistance

GM, through its GM Financial unit, is offering deferred payments of up to 120 days for new-vehicle buyers and also loan terms as low as 0% for up to 84 months for buyers with the best credit. Others could pay higher rates but still get the payment deferral. The financing program aims to reassure folks who “need a car but are reluctant shoppers” in the current uncertainty, GM spokesman Jim Cain told Cars.com.

“We’re trying to bridge through that,” Cain said.

The program applies to all 2019 vehicles on lots and most 2020s from any of the automaker’s brands — Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC — although the newest Chevy Corvette and GM’s heavy-duty pickups are excluded.

GM also is giving all current owners with compatible vehicles three months of OnStar services, including emergency notification and directions as well as 3 gigabytes of data connectivity in the vehicle. That includes 15-16 million vehicles; it will be turned on automatically.

Honda and Acura

Honda and Acura have a multipronged approach to relief for customers. Shoppers who’ve financed their vehicles through Honda Financial Services or Acura Financial Services qualify for payment extensions and deferrals, as well as available late fee waivers. New customers can take advantage of the 90 Days to First Payment Program, which defers the first payment to Honda or Acura Financial Services for 90 days.

Also, through the new First Responder & Healthcare Professional Appreciation Offer, eligible customers can get a $500 discount on new vehicles financed or leased through Honda or Acura Financial Services.

Hyundai Assurance

Hyundai was among the first, relaunching its Assurance Job Loss Protection program, which offers up to six months of payment relief for new vehicle owners who lose their jobs. Under the program, Hyundai will make up to six months of payments for new owners who lose their jobs involuntarily. The deal applies to customers who purchased or leased their new vehicle from a Hyundai dealer and financed it through Hyundai Capital between March 14 and May 17, 2020. 

In addition, Hyundai is offering new-car shoppers a payment deferral option. The automaker will allow deferring of payments for 90 days on select new models purchased at a Hyundai dealership and financed through Hyundai Capital. The models include the Santa Fe, Tucson, Elantra, Elantra GT, Kona, Venue and Accent.

Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover has a few programs geared toward new and existing purchase and lease customers of both brands under its umbrella. For new customers, the automaker is offering 0% financing for 72 months on model-year 2020 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, as well as on the 2021 Jaguar F-Type. Jaguar Land Rover will also defer payment for eligible customers for 90 days on all 2020 vehicles and the 2021 F-Type.

Also, through the Lease Payment Waiver plan, Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group will waive two payments of up to $750 each for eligible returning lessees, who begin a new lease through JLR’s finance arm. The automaker says the plan covers all model-year 2020 Jaguars, as well as the 2021 F-Type and model-year 2020 versions of the following Land Rover SUVs: Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Velar.

For current customers, the automaker is offering to extend current leases by up to six months to provide extra time and flexibility. Jaguar Land Rover said no action is needed and customers will automatically receive a call or email from Chase about the program.

JLR says these programs are currently slated to be offered through May.

Mazda

Mazda just launched its Mazda Financial Services arm, which is provided by Toyota Motor Credit Corp. Like other automakers’ financial services departments, MFS offers financing options for new and used purchases as well as leased vehicles. To help customers affected by the pandemic, Mazda says MFS will offer a payment-deferral program for up to 90 days on new and certified used Mazda vehicles to eligible customers who finance a new or certified used Mazda vehicle from April 1 through April 30.

Mitsubishi Assistance

For current owners, Mitsubishi says that all of its vehicles financed through financial partner Ally are eligible for up to 120 days of payment deferment. For new-vehicle shoppers, Mitsubishi says Ally is also offering up to 90 days of deferred payments on the purchase, depending on individual credit. Customers should contact Ally for more information.

Porsche Payment Deferrals

Porsche Financial Services is offering some payment flexibility and will “on a case-by-case basis, consider payment deferrals on lease contracts,” the automaker said in a statement. The automaker also said most payment deferrals are 30-60 days based on individual need, mirroring what it offered during the financial crisis of 2008.

In addition, Porsche Financial Services is offering lease extensions. The automaker said the offer is for up to six months on contracts scheduled to mature between now and April 30, which is four months longer than the regular extension period.

Lastly, Porsche is ramping up its home pickup and dropoff maintenance program.

“While this offering has been available at many Porsche dealerships, customers can expect an increased number of Porsche dealers now adopting this solution for customers who may be concerned about coming to the dealership,” the automaker said in a statement.

Toyota and Lexus

Toyota says customers who’ve financed their new leased or purchased vehicles through Toyota Financial Services and Lexus Financial Services are eligible for payment relief options, including finance contract payment extensions or lease deferred payments. The automaker is also providing options “to assist customers at or near the end of their lease who are impacted by the pandemic.”

Volkswagen Assistance

Through Volkswagen’s Community-Driven Promise program, existing purchase and lease customers who financed through VW and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic could be eligible for 90 days of payment deferrals and a lease extension of up to six months, with a 20% reduction rebate in the monthly payment amount (up to five monthly payments) when leases are extended for at least three months. VW also said it will waive past maturity fees in certain circumstances.

Shoppers interested in buying or leasing a new VW can defer the first payment up to 120 days. The automaker is also offering 0% financing for up to 72 months through Volkswagen Credit. The program is set to run through June 1. VW is also offering 0% financing for 60 months for those interested in purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. That offer ends June 30, 2020.

Volkswagen said VW Credit will also waive up to six months of payments (up to $750 per month) for qualified new customers who lose their job. There’s a good deal of fine print for this offer, however: The vehicle has to be financed through VW Credit and the offer is not available in New York. Also, the automaker said customers need to have been employed on a full-time basis for at least 12 consecutive weeks prior to the unemployment and be receiving unemployment benefits. Further, the unemployment must have occurred for economic reasons after the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. This benefit expires 12 months from the date of purchase.

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