Hyundai: Can't Make Your Car Payment? Just Give it Back

Hyundai promotion lets consumers return cars if they lose their jobs.

ByABC News
January 5, 2009, 4:26 PM

Jan. 6, 2009— -- Korean automaker Hyundai says it has "got your back" and has launched a new promotion that will allow consumers to break contracts and return recently purchased cars if they lose their jobs or incomes.

The Hyundai Assurance program, which lets you "return your vehicle and walk away from your loan obligation," up to $7,500, is the first such promotion of its kind, but comes amid a slew of new campaigns aimed at inducing Americans to buy cars during the worst recession in a generation.

The auto industry has taken a particularly hard hit in recent months, but few of the innovative attempts to get buyers into dealerships -- including GM's and Toyota's zero percent financing and GM's offer to lock in gas prices at $1.99 -- have yet to work, according to Jack Nerad, a market analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

"None of these promotions are working that well," Nerad said. "Everyone would like consumer confidence to be higher and sales to be higher. The companies are trying all kinds of incentives but also throwing their hands up and saying, 'It doesn't matter how much we offer, nothing seems to work.'"

One of two new television commercials launched by Hyundai this weekend promises that if you "buy any new Hyundai and in the next year you lose your income, we'll let you return it."

According to a company statement, loss of income includes "involuntary unemployment, physical disability, loss of driver's license due to medical impairment, international employment transfer, self-employed personal bankruptcy" and "accidental death."

Analysts predict consumers, still cautious about the state of the economy, will buy 10 million to 12.4 million new cars and trucks in 2009, a significant drop from the 16.7 million annual average in the past decade and less than the 13 million sales estimated for 2008.

While much of the attention given to the auto industry's abysmal year focused on American manufacturers, a report released by Hyundai today showed the South Korean company had not been spared.