Hyundai Motor America will offer dealers relief to help them weather a slowdown in showroom traffic amid the coronavirus crisis.
The automaker is adjusting its dealer performance objectives for March, adjusted its co-op marketing program and is offering customer loyalty incentives on select models, a company spokesman told Automotive News on Tuesday.
In addition, Ryan Gremore, president of O'Brien Auto Team of Bloomington/Normal in Illinois, told Automotive News that Hyundai has extended timing on facility agreements.
The automaker will pay dealers $400 per wholesale unit until further notice regardless of their survey scores.
The automaker's captive, Hyundai Motor Finance is offering deferred floorplan interest, increased incentives and other assistance.
The aid for dealers comes as Hyundai, alongside sibling luxury brand Genesis, over the weekend relaunched its 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.
Meanwhile, Hyundai group stablemate Kia Motors America has begun offering a 120-day payment deferment option to customers with Tier 1 and 2 credit for certain models, according to a document obtained by Automotive News. The program lasts through March 31.
Hyundai is coming off its best sales year in the U.S. since 2016, with 688,771 deliveries in 2019. And sales in the first two months of 2020 were off to a strong 11 percent increase compared with same period last year.
In a podcast interview with Automotive News Publisher Jason Stein, Hyundai Global COO Jose Munoz said: "We are getting ready for the worst."
"The feedback from dealers is that a lot of customers are now reluctant to go and visit the dealerships, not only on the sales side but also on the service area," he said. The virus is going to have "a social effect, which is ... going to have an impact on our business for sure."
Earlier Tuesday, Automotive News reported that Nissan North America will pay dealers guaranteed per-vehicle sales bonuses and offer lowered floorplan rates and cash-flow assistance.
Honda also told Automotive News in a statement that it's working on a dealer relief package. "We are working on several fronts to address the extraordinary circumstances our customers and dealers are facing, and will have more information to share soon."