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Car Shoppers Rank Most Motivating Automotive Financial Guarantees

April 1, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. — No-fault return and assisted/deferred payment programs ranked highest as the reasons for motivating new-car shoppers to purchase vehicles, according to a Kelley Blue Book survey.

In light of the current economic crisis and auto industry turmoil, consumers recently shared their opinions in the Kelley Blue Book Market Research survey of which auto manufacturer financial assurance/guarantee programs they found most motivating to buying a new car.

When new-car shoppers were asked how motivated they would be to purchase a vehicle if a manufacturer offered one of the following guarantee options in the event they were facing a job loss or other serious financial challenges, new-car shoppers say they are most motivated by a no-fault return option (76 percent).

The second most popular plans include payment assistance (where a manufacturer covers payments on the car-buyers' behalf for a specified period of time) at 75 percent, and deferred payments up to six months without penalties (also at 75 percent).

Less popular options include a trade-down plan (ability to trade-down to a cheaper/smaller vehicle to reduce payments) at 63 percent, and a gradual payment ladder (lowered payments for the first few months, working up to full payment amount over time) at 49 percent.

Hyundai announced a program earlier this year (Hyundai Assurance Program), which successfully increased consumer confidence and spurred new-car sales. Additionally, Hyundai traffic on kbb.com spiked 35 percent the week the program was announced. Taking into consideration consumer opinions, similar programs were announced this week by Ford (Ford Advantage Plan) and General Motors (GM Total Confidence).

"Taking the risk out of car-buying right now is the key to getting consumers back into dealerships," said Paul Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. "These new assurances offered by the domestic auto manufacturers, new tax incentives and government-backed warranties, as well as our President's promise that he will 'not let our auto industry simply vanish,' should allay fears, diminish the risk and hopefully get shoppers to once again reconsider domestic vehicles."

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