By on March 29, 2011

Now that the economy is recovering and Hyundai has a new generation of more upscale offerings on its dealers’ lots, the automaker’s job-loss-protection program is going away, reports Automotive News [sub]. The one-year protection will be available on Hyundais purchased through the end of this month, but as sales boss Dave Zuchowski puts it

We actually see the elimination of the job-loss program as a sign of a recovering economy and we had never anticipated that this would be an enduring program. We welcome the day when it’s really no longer as relevant in the showroom or as required in the marketplace.

The job-loss-protection element of Hyundai’s Assurance program was widely lauded back in the gloomy days of early 2009 as the perfect recession-era marketing gimmick. Financial uncertainty was rampant, job loss was common, and guaranteeing a repo-free experience in case you lost your job was a good way to keep people buying, and indeed, the recession years were good to Hyundai. The program even garnered so much attention that Hyundai’s erstwhile marketing boss, Joel Ewanick, received AdAge’s “Marketer of the Year” award, even though Assurance’s job-loss-protection scheme was simply a rebadge of Walkaway, an existing insurance option.

And ultimately, it seems that the program was probably better at getting media attention than actually protecting huge numbers of laid-off Hyundai buyers, as the number of consumers actually returning their vehicles under the program were low (350 as of this week), and Hyundai’s recent sales momentum actually dates back to the introduction of its 10-year, 100k mile warranty.

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20 Comments on “Hyundai Dropping Job-Loss Protection...”


  • avatar

    This is absolutely depressing news. What’s going to happen to all those McDonalds manager’s Equuses when they get laid off?

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I had completely forgotten about this program. I imagine that I’m not the only one, and therefore question its relevance.

    On another note, the plural of one Hyundai is “Hyundais”, not “Hyundai’s”. No apostrophe needed.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    It was the right message at the right time from Hyundai and it ultimately didn’t cost them too much to implement in the grand scheme of things. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

  • avatar

    What I still can’t believe is the iPad that comes w/ the Equus.

    Damn.

    • 0 avatar

      Remember that commercial Mad TV did on hyundai?
       
      WE WILL F’in DO ANYTHING !
      If they were smart, they should give you a hot Korean model with the car. I’d trade my S-class in for an Equus then – so long as she was 5’11 and shaped like Kimora Lee Simmons.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    350 cars is a lot more than I would have guessed.
     
    I still think it’s a useful gimmick, especially since US unemployment is still around 9%.
     
    If Hyundai thinks the number of cars is relatively low, the cost of running the program must be correspondingly low as well.  Seems like a minor but notable PR mistake to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack99

      It probably also costs money to maintain. And I’m guessing Hyundai’s analysts probably figured the gains from the program in 2011 were too miniscule to justify keeping it going on. The program did its job of improving Hyundai’s brand image when it needed the boost,but now it’s things have changed. Hyundai/Kia’s combined market share is now about 11%. They’re no longer newcomers. They’ll have to do more than the occasional PR parlor trick if they want to make anymore serious gains.

  • avatar
    Jack99

    Hats off to Hyundai for being the first auto company to introduce this program on top of compelling  companies like GM to adopt this program and offer a warranty like Hyundai’s.
     
    But they’ve still got a lot of work to do. The quality is there. But in my mind, the refinement still needs tinkering. The 2011 Hyundai Sonata made an impression with me. Steering bugs aside, I wasn’t all that jazzed to find that Hyundai/Kia engineers still haven’t mastered the art of noise insulation and ride quality.
     
    Oh well. I expect to see great things from them in upcoming vehicle releases.

  • avatar
    i_godzuki

    Wonder if this is a sign of things becoming more normal at Hyundai. Unlike most of their rivals (ie the Japanese) Hyundai got a massive boost in the financial crisis. While the yen surged 20% to the dollar, the won plunged 20% making it a lot easier for Hyundai to cram goodies into its cars and warranties. The won only gained a bit so far, but they must know that a more ‘normal’ yen rate would erase a big chunk of their competitive advantage.

    Still, hard to argue that Hyundai hasn’t been really smart in using the last 3 years to cement its image as a rising brand. They’ve done a pretty amazing job of that, although I don’t personally like there swoopy designs.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      While the yen surged 20% to the dollar, the won plunged 20% making it a lot easier for Hyundai to cram goodies into its cars and warranties.
       
      These matter zero when you make most cars in the US and A.  The volume leaders Sonata and Elantra are both produced in Alabama.  Sure some parts are sourced from overseas, but not a much different geographic mix than a USA built Japanese car such as Accord.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It was a marketing campaign, just like the coupons for detergent on your countertop. Those expire. So do offers from Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, GM, etc.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    With what just happened in Japan, more people around the world could get layedoff depending on the industry.  While the economy is showing signs of recovery, I am not sure that this is the best time because problems could be coming back very soon.  I think this is the wrong time to make this move.  Wait till the fallout from the tsunami is realized, then make a decision.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack99

      Korean cars don’t even sell well in Japan, so the tsunami is virtually a nonissue for Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I wasn’t talking about selling cars in Japan.  I was talking about the tsumani in Japan will hurt economies everywhere with different parts shortages for different items, from iPads to cars.  This could cause layoffs in the US and other parts of the world where Hyundai does sell cars.

  • avatar
    Canuck129

    Of course they are getting rid of this policy, they can’t make money from it anymore, it has lost its value.  It was never about “helping people” in the first place.  I was terribly mislead by those warm and fuzzy TV ads.

  • avatar
    i_godzuki

    These matter zero when you make most cars in the US and A.  The volume leaders Sonata and Elantra are both produced in Alabama.  Sure some parts are sourced from overseas, but not a much different geographic mix than a USA built Japanese car such as Accord.
    vbofw
    That’s not really true, is it? Overall, Hyundai actually exports more cars worldwide proportionately than Toyota, Nissan or Honda. Just because they make Sonatas and Elantras in the US, they still benefit from a weaker won overall just as the stronger yen really hurt the Japanese (how many Lexus are made in the U.S.?) Take a look at what happened to Hyundai’s stock price since September 2008 when Lehman collapsed, the won plunged and the yen surged.
     

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Don’t know if that really holds true today.

      Hyundai now builds more vehicles in its overseas plants than it does in Korea and the bulk of its US sales (the Sonata, Elantra and Santa Fe) are built in the US.

      Also, Lexus models aren’t built in the US (altho, one is built in Canada) primarily b/c Toyota wanted to be able to keep a better eye on quality (same reason why Toyota isn’t building Lexus models in China).

      It would be beneficial for Toyota to build Lexus models in the US, but Lexus models can get away with higher prices due to being built in Japan, unlike many of Toyota’s mainstream offerings.

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