With the economy at an all-time low, we’ve seen a change in the way companies advertise their products. Ad agencies are finding creative ways to spend less on TV spots by eliminating costs like talent and flashy special effects. Value is stressed more than ever. And across the board, companies are forced to work harder than ever to get consumers to buy their products. The automotive industry is no exception.
As the economy continues to decline, car sales have hit rock bottom. With the fear of layoffs constantly looming, who wants to buy a new, expensive car, even with all the different extras dealers throw your way? As Ford spokesman Steve Kinkade said, “You can put all sorts of incentives on the hood, but it doesn’t ease the fears people have of losing their jobs.”
Since low APR and employee discounting aren’t getting cars off the lots, auto companies have to get creative to ease customers’ anxiety about the economy and make them feel comfortable buying a new car.
A few companies are working extra hard to get wary consumers into their dealerships to buy new cars:
Hyundai promises that if you buy one of their cars and lose your job, they’ll make your payment for three months. If you still don’t have a job, no problem. You can bring the car back with no impact on your credit and walk away from negative equity for up to $7,500. The program is good for a year.
GM will make up to nine car payments of $500 each on its vehicles. The company will also cover negative equity of up to $5,000. The program runs until June 1.
Ford will cover your payments up to $700 a month for up to a year on any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury. The program runs until June 1.
Are these incentives enough to make consumers put aside their worries of layoffs and drive off the lot with shiny new vehicles? If the first quarter is any indicator, these car companies may be on to something. Through the first quarter of the year, Hyundai sales were up slightly at a time when overall new vehicle sales dropped 36.8 percent. But with mass layoffs still occurring weekly, I can’t help but think this may just catch up with them. We’ll have to wait to see how it all plays out.