Captive automakers and major auto lenders Monday said customers impacted by the coronavirus crisis will be eligible for payment relief. Some lenders are also offering to delay payments on new-vehicle purchases or leases to entice buyers who might have postponed a purchase because of financial insecurity.
Ford Motor Credit Co., Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. and Toyota Financial Services are among the automakers offering malleable payment and repayment programs, with larger lenders Wells Fargo Auto and Ally Financial following suit.
General Motors is offering 0 percent interest on 84-month loans and 120-day deferred payments on new-vehicle purchases for customers in top credit tiers, a spokesman said. GM also is providing complimentary OnStar crisis-assist services for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners, plus 3GB of data.
Ford Credit, NMAC and Ally Financial are offering customers who buy a new vehicle the option to delay their first payment for 90 days. Ford Credit will begin running ads Monday for the program, using the slogans "Built for Right Now" and "Built to Lend a Hand."
NMAC said it will offer 90-day deferred payments for 60 and 72 months for new special APR retail customers.
Capital One, one of the largest U.S. auto lenders, has not disclosed a payment-deferral program for auto loans but is encouraging customers who may be impacted to reach out to the lender to discuss their options.
On Friday, Hyundai said it was relaunching its Assurance job-loss protection program for new vehicles, offering to make up to six months of payments for customers who buy or lease over the next seven weeks through its captive financing arm. Genesis is offering a similar program.
Ford has set up a special hotline for customers to discuss options: 1-800-723-4016. It's also encouraging customers to access their accounts online or through the FordPass app.
"Ford is committed to lending a hand to the people who rely on us," Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement. "The peace of mind of our Ford and Lincoln customers is our top priority as we work through the developments of this outbreak."
NMAC said in an emailed statement that it’s also lowering dealer floorplan rates and suspending curtailments. Qualifying dealers also will be able to apply for the cash flow assistance program, which allows six months of interest-only payments on existing mortgages and capital loans.
A Nissan dealer informed Automotive News that the captive is not requiring that dealers pay back a percentage of the loan on inventory that is a year old or older.
The move eases financial costs for dealers, though rates already were likely slated to drop in light of the Federal Reserve slashing the benchmark interest rate to a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent over the weekend.
Ally Financial, which works with about 18,000 franchised and used dealerships nationwide, said through a spokeswoman that the lender is "actively communicating with our dealer partners to support their individual needs."
"As has been our practice during previous periods of hardship, we’re encouraging customers to talk with us about their individual situations, and we are partnering with them to tailor solutions with the goal of helping each customer navigate this difficult time," the spokeswoman said.
In addition to the payment relief for customers, Ford said Monday that the Ford Fund, its philanthropic arm, will donate more than $500,000 to nonprofit groups in southeast Michigan and will support delivery of food to senior citizens and to thousands of children who do not have access to school meals while classes are not in session. Some locations in Detroit are serving as drive-up food pantry distribution centers.
The Wells Fargo Foundation pledged up to $6.25 million in donations last week to support domestic and global response to the virus and to aid public health relief efforts.
Ford also is launching an emergency aid program with the United Negro College Fund to help students with financial difficulties at historically black colleges and universities get home following the sudden closure of some of these institutions.
"We are immediately targeting resources to ensure that the most vulnerable people are being cared for during this unprecedented situation," Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund, said in a statement. "We appreciate all that our nonprofit partners are doing and will continue to work with them to address critical needs in our communities as the situation evolves."
Hannah Lutz, Larry Vellequette, Urvaksh Karkaria and Laurence Iliff contributed to this report.