Tips, Tricks & Trends

How Automakers Have Rushed to Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Automakers nationwide have halted production, and many have switched gears to help make much-needed medical supplies. Social distancing and shelter in place recommendations at the state level have deemed many dealership showrooms inoperable. The car-buying industry is grinding to a halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

While the analysts predict a resurgence in the economy post the Coronavirus threat, nationwide car makers are extending incentives to ease the cost of financing, payments, and car buying.

In a way, the companies understand many consumers won’t entertain significant purchases during these uncertain economic times. But, they also know some may have a need to do so, and these incentives can help them keep a sales lifeline in their markets and a finger on the pulse of car buyers in isolation.

Hyundai and Genesis lead the charge in offering assistance

Hyundai and Genesis both jumped in almost immediately upon the announcement of the Coronavirus pandemic, to offer relief to existing vehicle owners in the form of deferred payments. Hyundai resurrected its Hyundai Assurance Job Loss Protection Program; a platform initially leveraged during the recession of 2008.

It offers peace of mind for car buyers and pays six months of car payments for anyone who loses their job involuntarily. It also affords a 90-day payment deferral window on the purchase of certain models, like the Palisade and the Elantra. Genesis offers a similar deferment for anyone purchasing the G70.

FCA makes a commitment to ease financing

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently producing face masks for first responders in need of personal protective equipment. The company is also inviting current vehicle owners to call for individual payment plans and personal deferment solutions.

FCA doesn’t have its own financing division like some of the other automakers do. But it has worked out a relief platform with Chrysler Capital and Ally Financial to offer up to four months of payment delays.

What General Motors is doing to help during the Coronavirus pandemic

General Motors is offering zero-interest financing, for up to seven years across Chevy, GMC, and Buick vehicles, for buyers with stellar credit. The company is also extending four-month payment deferrals for existing model owners.

GM also turned on the OnStar Crisis Assist, the in-vehicle tech that connects customers to advisors, for emergency assistance. GM has also given its vehicle owners 3GB of data and WiFi hotspot access.

For anyone interested in buying a new car right now, GM’s Shop Click Drive allows buyers to shop online, get a trade-in evaluation, complete financing, and take delivery in a completely digital environment.

What Ford is offering to new car buyers and existing Ford owners

Ford created its Built to Lend a Hand program that gives new car buyers up to six months before making the first payment. Ford pays for three months of car payments and pairs it with a three-month deferment plan, and it’s available for any new 2019 or 2020 model, outside the 2020 F-Series Super Duty lineup.

This relief is offered through Ford Motor Credit, the automaker’s finance arm. Ford and Lincoln dealers are engaging in trade pick-ups and new car delivery to comply with the safest social distancing practices.

Note for car buyers looking to make purchases right now

Shelter in place orders vary geographically from state to state. Some dealerships are open only for service-related customers right now, while others have temporarily closed their doors entirely. If you’re interested in making a purchase, consider browsing the automaker brand website directly to review your options in your local market.

Other automakers are offering payment deferment plans, monthly payment forgiveness, and zero-percent financing for new car purchases, including Toyota, Lexus, and Nissan. The industry recognizes the impact of stalled vehicle production. It also knows car buyers can’t buy when they’re hunkered down to do their part during this Coronavirus pandemic.

Consumers who want to purchase new cars now, whether it be a transportation necessity or expiring lease, can do so safely. And, they can take advantage of financial incentives to help ease the burden of monthly payments and interest rates.