LOS ANGELES -- Here's Hyundai's new incentive deal: Buy a new vehicle by the end of this month and you'll receive a check every month for the next six months.
Actually, it's the same old spiff, divided into six pieces.The monthly payment deal is the brand's latest effort to get reluctant consumers into showrooms.
Joel Ewanick, Hyundai Motor America's vice president of marketing, says the monthly payments amount to whatever cash rebate the company is offering consumers. Hyundai is just presenting it differently, he says.
If customers choose, the factory will mail them their incentives in six monthly installments through the end of the year.
The deal ends June 30 and involves four vehicles: the 2009 Sonata sedan, for which Hyundai offers a $500 monthly rebate for six months; the 2009 Santa Fe crossover, $333 each month; and the 2009 Elantra Touring compact wagon and Accent subcompact, $250 monthly.
The money will be deposited into a debit card each month. Consumers still have the option of taking the rebate all at once or using it to lower the price of the vehicle.
In the past, Ewanick says, few customers knew they could take the incentive as a lump sum; they thought they had to use it to help buy the car. Now Hyundai is making it clear that the money is the customer's.
"Many people didn't know they could take the $3,000," Ewanick says. "By the time they got home, they didn't know if they got a rebate or not."
Hyundai division's sales were down 7.9 percent through May, compared with the industry average decline of 36.5 percent. Ewanick says Hyundai Assurance, which allows customers to return their cars without penalty if they lose their income, has accounted for about 22 percent of the brand's sales this year.