No One Asking For Hyundai Refunds After Job Loss

UPDATE: People Haven’t Returned Hyundais b/c They Weren’t Yet Eligible

You know that Hyundai Assurance program where, if you lose your job within a year of buying a new car from them they let you return it for almost a full refund? So far, no one has returned any of their new Hyundais. What does it mean?

The easiest conclusion is that none of the buyers have lost their jobs. But perhaps it just means people who are financially secure enough to be in a position to buy a new car got there by making secure bets, so they would gravitate towards a program that provides buyer protection. While on the face of it The Hyundai Assurance program looked like a way to help the financially shaky, maybe it was really a way to draw the safe money from the sidelines. Then again, it could come down a classic dealership truism that’s been around since before The Great Recession, and will remain true even after: once you drive off the lot and bond with the car and show it off to your friends, it’s hard for you to give it up.

No Need for Hyundai Assurance, Yet [Kicking Tires]

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  1. TheWraithL98 says:

    or no one is actually buying new cars….

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      @TheWraithL98: I did. I lowered my APR by 9%, put a nice down payment down, and used cash incentives to remove the negative equity of my previous vehicle.

      For all those that are about to scream bloody murder about trading in a vehicle that I owed more than it was worth- My daughter has a disability, and we put about 30K a YEAR on my car traveling to Albany and other hospitals. We needed something more reliable when my car hit 140K and I had already put $10K of work into it. (it also had a horrific interest rate and another 3 years to pay on it!)

      I’d rather make the payments and have a warranty that covers the huge repairs thank you.

      • supercereal says:

        @verucalise: Yup, for anyone already in the market for a new car (like myself), the current economic state makes it a phenomenal time to buy one.

      • ViperBorg says:

        @verucalise: Well done. And excellent reasoning for it, as well. I have a disabled sibling, and the trips from Wisconsin to Chicago to see her doctor absolutely pile on the miles.

        That said, how is it up there? I’ll be in upstate NY soon. I hope the roads aren’t crap. (Who am I kidding? It’s upstate NY, of course they are.)

        • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

          @ViperBorg – SpaceBat hates Facebook: Weather is WONDERFUL up here. Haven’t had a touch of snow in about a week, beautiful sun is back. Lots of snow melting, but in some places there isn’t any snow left on the ground. Still chilly, 40’s but I think it’ll be 50 soon. :) oh happy day.

      • jake7294 says:

        @verucalise: You feel the need to justify yourself to commentators on a blog?

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @TheWraithL98: yay, reply works.

      From what I’ve seen, Hyundai / Kia is the only other manufacturer besides Subaru that’s been seeing sales increases this year over 2008.

    • thefranchise2 says:

      @TheWraithL98: Actually, Hyundai’s 2009 sales were higher than their 2008 sales for the first two months of the year.

    • Vanilla5 says:

      @TheWraithL98: Owner of a new ’08 Santa Fe here.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @TheWraithL98: I did just before the shoe dropped on Saturn.

      Still love my Aura regardless of the company being cast off by GM. They cut 4000 dollars off a fully loaded model too making it 24,000. Completely happy with it too, as I have NEVER had issues with Saturns, which is why 3 of my 4 cars have been them.

  2. Yossarian says:

    I doubt the Hyundai Assurance program was designed to bring in buyers who were likely to take advantage of it. Most likely, the goal was to get relatively stable but hesitant buyers to pull the trigger.

  3. Randy Treibel says:

    My guess is they’re not financing financially shaky people either. Also there is or at least should be some shame in getting your car Repo’ed. It shows gross money mismanagement.

  4. RStui says:

    For many, your car is your life. I couldn’t hold my job without my car. Not everyone lives in a city with public transportation available 24-7, so a car is NOT a luxury item.

    Especially a reliable and inexpensive car. Maybe if this was Mercedes, or BMW, or something, we would see people trading them in to save some of that monthly payment. But a Hyundai? Who can get a loan for that and then can’t maintain it?

    The only way people that lose jobs would trade that in is if they already have another car, or have a line on an El’Cheapo that they’re going to pay cash for outright.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @RStui: Agreed. Just because you lose your job, doesn’t mean your car can be the first thing to go. If you absolutely needed to, I guess that would be an option, but even right now in which I’m not driving my car in a two-car household, I have no intention of trading in my car or anything because if I get a call for a job interview, I might have to drive. And then where will we be if there’s only one car?

  5. RandomHookup says:

    It’s like a warranty. If things get too bad, you can take it back. It’s not like you get to keep it, as with other programs. That would attract the opportunists…

  6. backbroken says:

    Really it’s not that hard to figure out. Even the unemployed need transportation. Those folks probably figure it’s cheaper (and easier) to just figure out how to hold onto what they got than turn it back in and go out and buy something else.

  7. rpm773 says:

    I think it means the Hyundai dealerships are located too far of a walk from the nearest bus stop.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I bought a Hyundai because of this program. My 6 yr old, paid for Ford Focus has a weird electrical problem that Ford can’t seem to fix, but which makes me nervous about driving it. So I bought a Hyundai to have reliable transportation, kept the old car, and if my job disappears within the next year, I can return the Hyundai, still have the old car to get around in, and not be worried about making a car payment with my unemployment check.

  9. SynMonger says:

    The repo guys can’t find you when you’re living out of it, and move every day.

    • Gokuhouse says:

      @SynMonger: Ah yes, and since hyundai vehicles don’t have built in GPS(at least mine doesn’t) they won’t be able to track you down…unlike GM and many others out there.

  10. garfield1979 says:

    At least their deal is a heck of a lot better than GM’s gas price lock guarantee at $2.99 for three years!

    • noone1569 says:

      @garfield1979: Haha, I wonder how many people did that . . .

      • thefranchise2 says:

        @noone1569: It was Chrysler offering the $2.99 gas. I have a friend who bought a Jeep Patriot during the promotion and he took the rebate on the car instead (you had to give up the rebate to get the gas discount). Even at $4/gallon gas the break even point with the rebate was near the maximum yearly allowance, IIRC.

  11. BMRFILE says:

    I hope Hyundai comes out a big winner after the financial disaster is over. This is a company that started being the joke of the car world (and in some ways that image is still hard to shake) to being on par with Japanese rivals, while offering better values.

    Hyundai caters to people who want to get their money’s worth but couldn’t care less about brand image. These people tend to be more financially sound, anyway.

    • lhutz34 says:

      @BMRFILE: It helps that they finally hired quality designers. The last few hyundais I’ve driven as rentals may as well be hondas or toyotas. Solid workmanship and clean lines go a long way.

    • azntg says:

      @BMRFILE: At least in the United States, Canada and most western European countries, Hyundai is trying hard to remain competitive by building relatively good quality cars and selling them at affordable prices.

      On the other hand, the same cannot be said for Hyundai in South Korea (country of origin for Hyundai / Kia). A recent TV investigative journalism program found rather huge disparities in selling price and overall quality between comparable model Hyundai cars sold in the United States and in South Korea. Generally, in Sotuh Korea, Hyundai is cutting corners on materials and labor plus charging people more to boot.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @BMRFILE: I love my Elantra. It will be 5 years old this December, but *knock on wood* is still going well!

      • baquwards says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese:

        We have an Elantra the same age, while she may not be the prettiest car (especially the interior) she has been completely problem free. Well a chunk of the rubber coating came off the steering wheel, but a $10 cover from target, which matches exactly fixed that problem.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @BMRFILE: I’ve really been hearing more and more about the quality of Hyundai, and they’re very nice looking cars when you compare them side by side with their supposedly superior counterparts (Honda, Nissan, Toyota). I’m loyal to Nissan but I would definitely consider a Hyundai.

    • WraithSama says:

      @BMRFILE:
      I have a 2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS V6, and it’s a wonderful car. The design is really nice, it has tons of features and options, and it performs very well. Hyundai has indeed come a very long way.

      Too bad for them it took years of making crap cars and getting a terrible reputation for them to wake up, because even though they’re really on the ball now, the perception is lagging with the uninformed massses.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @BMRFILE: Had an Azera as a rental car…. I saw “Hyundai” on the Priceline confirmation and thought “oh shit…” but it was great!

      GF’s sister used to have a 2004 Lexus ES330, and the Azera was nearly a winner in every aspect, minus a little louder road noise…

      We looked at the Genesis recently, and debated between that and the 745Li (not kidding!)… to be honest, if the Genesis didn’t have crappy fake wood and didn’t have the ride like a Buick, it would have been the one we went with.

  12. Frank Murphy says:

    My gut said it was a marketing scheme.

  13. noone1569 says:

    Who goes out and buys a new car if you think you are in danger of losing your job?

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @noone1569: I think this is more aimed at the people who are fairly certain that their jobs are safe but nonetheless realize that shit happens and they can still get laid off rather than the people who are pretty sure their heads are on the chopping block.

    • magstheaxe says:

      @noone1569: There are people at my workplace who thought their jobs were safe a month ago. Their last day is Friday of this week.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @noone1569: I bought a new car in September because my old car was getting too expensive to fix and fix and refix. I lost my job in January. Does it happen sooner than you think? Yes, especially if there wasn’t any indication previously that a company is having difficulties.

    • Anonymous says:

      @noone1569: @noone1569: I actually bought a new Hyundai last June (long before this program was introduced) and got my pinkslip the very next day when I came in to work. And I had been reassured my job was safe. So these things do definitely happen.

      Luckily, I had plenty of savings and got a nice severance package and qualified for the maximum unemployment benefit during my downtime, so keeping the car was no problem for me… which was good, seeing as how I needed transportation to job interviews!

      Incidentally, I absolutely love my Hyundai. I’ve put 16,000 miles on it in less than a year, and aside from oil changes, it has been completely reliable and sips gas. Best car I’ve ever owned.

  14. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    i wonder what happens if you traded something in …

  15. ElizabethD says:

    I love my Hyundai and even if I lose my job, I hope to hang on to it! (Santa Fe, 2006) This car was the biggest surprise ever. I had no expectations (or rather negative expectations) but it’s a sweet ride and the price was right.

  16. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    once you drive off the lot and bond with the car and show it off to your friends, it’s hard for you to give it up.

    This is the most likely reason. Even if you lose your job, you’ll probably still need an automobile, especially when you find new work.

    When I first saw the offer, I said to my wife that they’ll see few cars returned because for most people, that car purchase is a necessity. It’s not likely to be an “extra” car for the household to use.

  17. dumblonde says:

    Maybe it’s because people in precarious financial situations can’t get car loans!

  18. Serpephone says:

    …not so sure I could easily bond with a HYUNDAI!

  19. exploded says:

    What’s the source of this news? I find that hard to believe that not one person has taken advantage of it.

  20. redskull says:

    Perhaps people aren’t returning their cars because they’re now living in them? It’s cheaper than a house. Free heat courtesy of the greenhouse effect. Central air. No plumbing could be a bitch though.

  21. MexiFinn says:

    I watched an episode of Motorweek which had a snippet saying that two people cashed in on this. And this was probably filmed weeks ago…

  22. vastrightwing says:

    Tata?

  23. azntg says:

    I too think that it is a mix of highly selective offering and the fact the Hyundai owners are not taking advantage of the program, as cars are an essential mode of transport in the United States.

    Unless of course, you live in urban areas with well established mass transit systems (e.g.: New York City, though once the MTA, the State and the City gets their way, it’ll be expensive to drive AND/OR to use mass transit too. I hope they don’t seriously expect us to walk immeasurable distances or bike in the rather dangerous streets!)

  24. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    I would love to buy a Hyundai, but as I’m 6’4, it would be out of the question.

    Driving in a Santa Fe was very uncomfortable.

    • MexiFinn says:

      @BuddyGuyMontag:

      duh! that’s what sunroofs are for. Just crack it open and stick your head out. Just don’t drive on rainy days….

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @BuddyGuyMontag: That’s odd – did you try any of their other models? That was one of the requirements for purchasing the Elantra I own. I personally am only 5’7″ but we wouldn’t spring for a car unless my dad could fit in the back seat with minimal smooshing. And the passenger seat was comfy too!

      I’m fairly certain one of my friends is AT LEAST 6’3″ and he fit in my Elantra just dandy.

  25. jtheletter says:

    Granted, I’m rather cynical, but isn’t there a likely 3rd option here that hasn’t been mentioned?

    Hyundai is actively preventing or helping people from actually using the program?

    One the one hand they may be denying legitimate attempts to use the service (similar to Best Buy avoiding a price match) and we just haven’t heard about it yet. Or in a possible altruistic twist, maybe people in distress needing to return the vehicle are finding the dealer is amenable to altering financing terms to help get them over the rough spot and avoid the return altogether?

  26. Porntipsguzzardo_GitEmSteveDave says:

    IIR the commercials correctly, you have to be out of work for at least three months before this plan kicks in. Hasn’t it been in effect for just about that long? If you factor that people don’t buy a car if they see themselves getting fired int he next few weeks, much like birth rate boom after a huge blackout, we’ll see a big rise in the next few months.

  27. coan_net says:

    Once you buy a new car, you usually trade in or sell your old car… so you are going to need your new car to drive to new job interviews and all that… so of course you won’t trade it back in…. I guess unless you *REALLY* hit rock bottom.

  28. MinervaAutolycus says:

    My husband and I both have Elantras. His is an ’02 and mine is an ’03. I have a long commute and have almost 110,000 miles on mine and I have had only one problem, a battery that went bad, and it was covered under warranty. Rest of the work has been routine maintenance. And I get 33 mpg freeway. By this many miles, my other cars I’ve owned (Fords) have needed a ton of work. I’ll definitely get another Elantra — unless I could afford a Genesis!

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @MinervaAutolycus: I think you and me got off lucky though, the newer models are completely redesigned.

      While not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t guarantee automatic reliability for their future models.

      I have an ’05 elantra that was manufactured in July ’04.

  29. swagv says:

    It means that the New York Times magazine got it wrong: people are buying Hyundais because they’re cheap, not because of some job guarantee.

    Sheesh. It’s not like I cannot sell my car at any time without Hyundai raping me on trade-in value.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Having a new baby, our only method of transportation was a 2002 Ford XZ2. It’s a coupe. I’m very tiny and it was a huge pain in the ass getting her in and out.

    We looked at used cars but with the whole supply and demand, the prices for used cars are through the roof. We both have good credit and my fiancee has a very stable job.

    We went to a Nissan dealership. We went with an upgraded Versa that they were asking 17,500 for. After rebates and negotiations, we got them down to about 14,000. We had about 6500 towards a downpayment and got around 7% fiancing, making our payments under $200 a month.

    It’s great because we can still keep our other vehicle so my fiancee can take that to work.

  31. JaideepG2002 says:

    maybe hyndai should be doing Mortgages… b/ then we wouldn’t be in this MESS!!!

  32. theblackdog says:

    *hugs his Hyundai* The reason I haven’t bought one yet is because my 1997 Elantra is still going strong 173,000 miles later.

  33. bananaboat says:

    Maybe the people buying cheap Hyundai’s have better financial wits about them versus the guy keeping up with the Jonses – interest only home loan with no income verification due to his debt ratio then he buys a $30k+ car to impress everyone.

    You gotta have a car to get to work or find work. Keeping the Hyundai is more economical than the $50k SUV that gets 12mpgs.

  34. lakecountrydave says:

    I wonder if anyone has attempted. My guess is they will do just about anything to take a car back. Look at how Sears was trying to avoid replacing hand tools. Or try to return something at Best Buy;)

  35. littlemisslondon says:

    If, for some reason, my ’00 Subie craps out on me (not likely, Subies are wonderful), I would seriously consider buying a Hyundai because of this program. The city where I live is relatively well-connected transport-wise, and although I love having a car because it makes life a whole lot more convenient when I want to get groceries or go out of town or get to my current job, it’s not a necessity.