How desperate are automakers to to sell their cars? One of them will take the car back if you get canned at work.

Hyundai has started something new this week called the "Hyundai Assurance Program". Basically, if you buy or lease a new Hyundai using their finance program at the dealership and then lose your job within a year of taking the keys, Hyundai will take the car back with no penalties. It's their way of offering a little peace of mind during this uncertainly economy, when people are steering clear of large-ticket purchases like cars.

Hyundai says the program is complementary and available to everyone who buys or leases a new Hyundai automobile. If, God forbid, you lose your job within a year of buying the car, you just bring it back to the lot, hand over the keys, and stop paying the loan.

Job-loss insurance is certainly nothing new in the car sales industry. For example, I have something similar with my Kia, although a portion of my loan payments cover the job-loss plan. Also, I don't get to give the car back. It simply covers my payments while I'm unemployed. Once I get a job, the payments start back up again.

It's actually not a bad idea. If you really need to get a car, I suppose it's one way of gaining some peace of mind. However, if I absolutely had to buy a car right now, I'd probably opt for a used vehicle rather than a new one, and I would pay for that sucker in cash. It would certainly be cheaper in the long run.

I predict you'll see other automakers follow suit (are you listening, GM?). To survive during 2009, a year predicted to see a further deepening of the current recession, automakers will have to try new things to get customers back on the sales lot again.

Savvy Frugality Recommended Reading: 2009...just like 2008, only worse.


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