In rapid response to the economic uncertainty fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, automakers are scrambling to offer auto payment programs to help those whose paychecks are threatened by the epidemic. Many automakers are also creating special deals on coronavirus to persuade customers that now is an excellent time to buy a vehicle.
Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota are among the major automakers that have announced plans and payment programs for cars against coronavirus. Other automakers could follow suit as the auto industry struggles to avoid a double whammy of plummeting new car sales and massive car lease rebates.
Although the automakers’ COVID-19 sales incentive and support programs were put in place quickly, they are not without precedent.
But in times of economic uncertainty, automakers cannot wait for the tide to turn. Ford Credit, GM Financial, Honda Financial Services, Hyundai Capital, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, and Toyota Financial Services are among the leading financial arms providing deferred payment options to customers in the United States affected by COVID-19. Fiat-Chrysler relies primarily on Chrysler Capital and Ally Financial to finance new car leases and purchases, and both offer a variety of payment relief options.
In one of the most extensive programs, Hyundai Motor America’s Job Loss Insurance will pay up to six months of payments to new owners who lost their jobs and bought or leased their vehicles between March 14 and 30 April 2020, through Hyundai Capital.
Also, most car manufacturers ask their current customers who face difficulties in making their payments to contact the financial institution that made the car loan or financed the leasing, even if that lender is not related to the manufacturer. In addition to financial support for existing customers, automakers are introducing new programs to encourage potential buyers who might be on the fence to buy their cars immediately. General Motors offers interest-free financing to “highly qualified customers” for 84 months with deferred payments of up to 120 days. Ford Credit offers a program that allows customers to delay their first payment by 90 days. All these measures are taken as well so that auto reviews don’t go downhill this period of COVID-19.
Other automakers are expected to unveil similar car deals for coronavirus, based on their business needs.
With consumer confidence in the current shortage, automakers are also working to assure potential car buyers that in most parts of the country, their affiliated dealers are open to the sale and service of vehicles. Many focus on their online purchasing and vehicle purchasing options. Through these programs, automakers are offering consumers the opportunity to choose a car, estimate a trade-in value, agree on a payment, add accessories, and schedule delivery.
Given the fact that many Americans are self-insulating, automakers hope these options will encourage consumers to reconsider buying or leasing a vehicle in what has been and may continue to be a troubling economic time.