- Ford Credit offers $500 for students and recent graduates.
- Toyota Financial Services offers recent graduates or students who are about to graduate $1,000 toward the purchase of a Toyota or Scion -- plus no money down and the same interest rate as "well-qualified" customers -- provided the graduates have a job or a written job offer.
- VW Credit will waive the first monthly payment, up to $800, for recent graduates or those about to graduate, also provided they can prove they have a job or job offer.
- Hyundai Motor Finance has a $400 rebate for recent graduates or those about to graduate.
Not all young people can go to college, though. So Hyundai Motor America goes a step further. It participates in a "layaway" program administered by Motozuma.com in Naperville, Ill.
Motozuma, working with Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, sets up accounts for consumers to save money for a down payment. They don't have to be students or college grads. "We target younger, first-time car buyers," says Motozuma CEO John Morgan, who founded the company in 2009.
Motozuma also provides ways for customers to receive donations from family and friends via social media and e-mail. The accounts do not earn interest, Morgan says.
Customers can also set up a profile page on the Web to track progress toward a fundraising goal and to display images of the car the customer is saving up for.
The concept is similar to suggestions a team of college students came up with for ways to make auto finance more accessible and appealing to Gen Y customers at the 2012 American Financial Services Association Vehicle Finance Conference earlier this year in Las Vegas.
Motozuma accounts can be used toward the purchase of any brand. But exclusively in the case of Hyundai, Hyundai Motor America will match up to $500, provided the money is used toward the purchase or lease of a new Hyundai.
Hyundai kicked off its matching-funds offer a year ago with the introduction of the redesigned 2012 Hyundai Accent subcompact. Morgan says the matching offer applies to all new Hyundais. According to the Hyundai Web site hyundaiusa.com, the offer expires Jan. 2, 2013.
A Hyundai spokesman said last week that the program is the only one of its kind, as far as Hyundai knows.
That could change.
Morgan says Motozuma has had discussions with other automakers and with dealership groups about creating a matching-funds program.
Motozuma currently has "tens of thousands" of accounts, Morgan says, and the average amount saved toward a down payment is $830. Sixty-four percent of Motozuma customers are between 18 and 34 years old.