Hyundai Looks to Jolt Skittish Car Buyers With New Program

Tells Consumers: Lose Your Job, Return Your New Vehicle

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Hyundai Motor America, which started an impressive turnaround a decade ago with its industry-best warranty, is rolling out a new program that addresses record-low consumer confidence to spur sales.

John Krafcik, Hyundai's acting president-CEO, called the automaker's new 'Assurance' program a 'unique form of financial protection in all 50 states.'
John Krafcik, Hyundai's acting president-CEO, called the automaker's new 'Assurance' program a 'unique form of financial protection in all 50 states.'
The automaker's new "Assurance" program allows new-vehicle buyers or those who lease to return their cars for up to a year after purchase if they lose their income due to a job loss. The free coverage is available to all buyers at participating dealerships and covers up to $7,500 in a buyers' negative equity.

Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, Hyundai's creative agency of record, created the ads, which broke yesterday.

A spokesman for the automaker said the spots are airing nationally, but it remains unclear how long the campaign will run.

Also part of the campaign are online ads that carry the headlines "We've got your back for one full year" and "Assurance: certainty in uncertain times." As for other media buys, the spokesman said there are no plans for radio, while communication plans for the program, including print buys, are still evolving.

"In this uncertain economy, we are looking for ways to reassure shoppers that Hyundai still represents the best value in the auto industry," said John Krafcik, Hyundai's acting president-CEO. He called the program a "unique form of financial protection in all 50 states."

Nearly all Hyundai dealers will participate in the program, the spokesman said.

Willy Hopkins, an ad-agency-veteran-turned-consultant, said Bill Young successfully tried a similar program during his tenure as president-CEO of Volkswagen of America in the early 1990s. "This was a great idea when Bill Young ran it at VW and it still is."

In 1998, Hyundai was the first automaker in the U.S. to offer a 10-year, 100,000-mile vehicle warranty, which it still calls "America's Best Warranty." The warranty helped ignite the carmaker's dramatic turnaround.

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