Hyundai's "Take Back Your Car" Campaign

New-car sales dropped by nearly 40% in January, but not Hyundai's. The car maker launched its "assurance campaign" and saw sales rise a whopping 14% that month.

Consumer Reports Money Adviser takes a closer look at its unique marketing strategy.

The commercial says, "Introducing Hyundai Assurance. Now finance or lease any new Hyundai and if you lose your income in the next year, you can return it with no impact on your credit."

Consumer Reports Chris Fichera wanted to take a look at this commercials fine print.

He found losing your job isn't the only reason you can return a vehicle.

"They'll take the car back from you if you're self-employed and have to file for bankruptcy, if your job gets transferred overseas, if you lose your driver's license due to medical reasons, or even if you die." said Fichera. "But you have to meet certain qualifications."

Among those qualifications-you must own or lease the car for at least 90 days.

You must be current on all payments, including insurance.

And you have to be unemployed for a minimum of 45 days before you can return a car.

Also you need to be approved for unemployment benefits or register with an employment agency within 30 days of losing your job.

"You should be aware that you might owe the dealer some money if you return the car with significant wear and tear. But since Hyundai covers up to $7500 in depreciation, only the most expensive cars might be affected," said Fichera.

In Consumer Reports tests, most Hyundais have performed well. And they have proven reliability.

The Elantra SE was even named Consumer Reports 2009 Top Pick for Small Sedans.

Considering this, and Hyundai's unique marketing approach, there's good reason sales have risen.

Consumer Reports says Hyundai can take up to 35 days to approve your return, so don't return you vehicle until you're sure you meet all the qualifications.

Otherwise, the bank may think your car has been repossessed and that could end up hurting your credit.


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