Hyundai's Latest Assurance Program Could Be Trouble for Competitors

Within a week Hyundai will roll out its latest promotional campaign, and it has the potential to cut through the clutter and make Hyundai stand out from the competition. It's a variation of the Hyundai Assurance programwith a new hook. This time, instead of agreeing to take back your car if you lose your job (that was the old assurance program the Korean automaker discontinued earlier this year) Hyundai is now guaranteeing how much your new Hyundai will be worth when you trade it in 2, 3 or 4 years from now.


It's called the Hyundai Assurance buy-back program. And here's how it works.

When you buy a new Hyundai, the dealership will give you a projected residual value for some point in the future.

As long as you have the car maintained at a Hyundai authorized dealer, when you trade in your car in the future, the dealership will compare its residual value with the projected value you received when you bought your car. You will then get the higher of the two, either the projected value or the actual value.

When Hyundai introduced the program at last week's New York Auto Show, I heard more than a few comments from reporters, other auto execs, and auto industry veterans. In general they all said the same thing: "Hyundai is doing it again." What they're talking about is the fact Hyundai has shown a knack in the last 3-4 years of coming up with marketing programs that cut through the clutter.

And car buyers are paying attention.

This is not to suggest that Hyundai's promotions are the only reason the company is growing sales (up 27.9% this year while the industry is up 20.2%) and picking up market share. Better designs, better mileage, and better reliability are all big reasons that have contributed to Hyundai's resurgence. But the marketing has been important because it's bringing in first time buyers. It's telling people who may have automatically dismissed Hyundai in the past that they should at least think about the Korean brand. And in the auto game, if you can get 'em in the showroom to at least look, you've got a shot at closing a sale.

Which brings up the new Assurance program. I'm not sure how many people will buy a Hyundai because of the offer, but I do think it will at least make people turn their heads and say, "hmm." That's cutting through the clutter.

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