Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hyundai Desperation

I was flipping around the tee-vee yesterday and came upon one of those teasers on the amazingly awful local newscast in Atlanta. I don't remember which channel it was. They're all equally bad. Atlanta is a top 10 market and yet I swear you'd think you're in Bakersfield, CA when you watch the local news.

Anyway the teaser was 'see what one local car dealer is doing to attract buyers in this depressed market, coming up next on Live Action News'. OK so I bit. I was thinking, Buy 1 get 1 Free or something like that. The deal by a Hyundai dealer is this; if you lose your job within the first year of buying a car, Hyundai will take the car back from you and call it even. So you can go ahead and buy with confidence.

Maybe it's just me but that screams desperation to me. This is the equivalent of the no-doc, option ARM mortgage. Shit, if you are really that worried about losing your job, you shouldn't be in the market for a new car. And if you are so on the edge that losing you job means you can't make the $300 or $400 car payment, should not be in the market for a new car, good economy or bad economy. Good thing GM and Chrysler got the bailout. This will ensure a few more million cars sold that will go to the repo man within 6 months. Brilliant strategy Senor Bush.

Which brings up my biggest pet peeve with car buying. It's a given in the media that buying a car equals getting a car loan. It has become so ingrained in people's minds that you have to have a car payment that the notion of not having a car payment is foreign to most people. Even people who sell cars for a living.

Last car I bought from a dealer, the salesman I was working with literally didn't know how to process the paperwork without a loan. We negotiated a price via emails back and forth. I went to the dealership, test drove the car, liked it, said OK, let's do this. Went into the office, took out my checkbook, wrote out the full price as we agreed upon. As he was writing up the paperwork he asked me for my SSN. I said you don't need my SSN. He said, oh yes he needs it for when I go to financing. I said no you don't need it and I don't need financing. I might as well have told him I don't need oxygen. He had to go get someone else to write up the paperwork since he had never had a situation like mine where the car was bought outright. Granted he was a bit of a rookie, but still it was funny. Well not funny, sad actually that this society is like a heroin addict when it comes to credit.



Anonymous said...

Lessee... I've just lost my job and now Hyundai is suggesting I give up my car so that I can't find a new job. Doesn't sound like a good long-term strategy to me. Hyundai really doesn't have a grasp of real-world problems.

Ed said...

Well in fairness to Hyundai I think they mean more like if you lost your job and can't afford to make your car payments. The company will take the car back with no additional loss to you. If you buy a new car and have to sell within a year will get hit hard by depreciation. Any car loan is upside down for the first 1-2 years.