LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai plans to eliminate the part of its Hyundai Assurance program that promises Hyundai buyers their money back if they lose their jobs.
The job-loss protection guarantee was the backbone of the Assurance program when it was launched in January 2009. Job-loss protection was a key part of Hyundai's marketing and advertising since then.
The offering is scheduled to end this week, according to EFG Co. Inc., the Irving, Texas-based company that has administered the Assurance program for Hyundai since its launch.
"It was very topical for times and really resonated in 2009, but in the meantime we've really broadened Assurance to be more than job loss," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's U.S. sales boss.
Hyundai will continue to use Assurance as the brand for its warranty offerings, which include a 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and 5-year roadside assistance coverage.
The job loss protection program will continue to cover customers for one year who buy new vehicles through March 31.
About 350 U.S. Hyundai customers have used the program to return their vehicles, Zuchowski said. Hyundai has sold more than 1 million new vehicles in the United States since Hyundai Assurance was launched.
Hyundai's U.S. sales have risen from 401,702 vehicles in 2008 to 435,064 in 2009 and then to 538,228 in 2010. Its share of the U.S. market improved from 3.0 percent to 4.6 percent over that time.
"We actually see the elimination of the job-loss program as a sign of a recovering economy and we had never anticipated that this would be an enduring program," Zuchowski said. "We welcome the day when it's really no longer as relevant in the showroom or as required in the marketplace."
Paul Budvitis, EFG's president of business development, says the company continues to administer a similar job-loss protection insurance product for 300 to 400 non-Hyundai dealers from a variety of brands.
Although its partnership with Hyundai is ending, EFG hopes to administer the job-loss protection product with other automakers and dealers, Budvitis said. EFG and Hyundai had an exclusivity deal through the first year of the Assurance program