Automakers Create Coronavirus Car Payment Plans & Programs in Bid to Boost Flagging Sales

Jack R. Nerad and Christian Wardlaw | Apr 08, 2020

This story was originally released on 3/16/2020, with the latest update coming on 4/8/2020. Continue to check back for the most up to date information.

In a swift response to the economic uncertainty fueled by the coronavirus pandemic and widespread COVID-19 illness, automakers are scrambling to offer car payment programs to help those whose paychecks are threatened by the outbreak. Many carmakers are also creating special coronavirus car deals to persuade consumers that now is a good time to buy a vehicle. 

Automakers Create Coronavirus Car Payment Plans & Programs in Bid to Boost Flagging Sales

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ford Motor Company, General Motors, American Honda, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors America, Nissan North America, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, and Volkswagen of America are among the major car manufacturers that have announced coronavirus car payment plans and programs. Most other carmakers have followed suit as the auto industry strives to stave off the double-whammy of plunging new-vehicle sales and rampant car loan defaults and repossessions.

While the automakers’ COVID-19 programs of incentives and sales support have been instituted quickly, they are not unprecedented.

"These types of programs have been tools OEM's have used many times over in economic downturns and for inventory control," said James Houston, J.D. Power Managing Director, Consumer Lending and Automotive Finance. "History shows us that automotive sales recover over time, and there will be less need to rely on these types of programs."

But in times of economic uncertainty, auto manufacturers can't wait for the tide to turn. Ford Credit, GM Financial, Honda Financial Services, Hyundai Capital, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, Toyota Financial Services, and Volkswagen Credit are among the major finance arms offering delayed payment options to customers in the U.S. impacted by COVID-19. Fiat Chrysler primarily relies on Chrysler Capital and Ally Financial to provide funding for leases and new-car purchases, and both are offering a variety of payment relief options.

What the Auto Manufacturers Are Offering Consumers

In one of the most expansive programs, Hyundai Motor America's Assurance Job Loss Protection will make up to six months of payments for new owners who lose their jobs and have purchased or leased their vehicles between March 14 and April 30, 2020, through Hyundai Capital. The same offer applies to Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis, through the Genesis Cares program.

Furthermore, anyone who anticipates trouble making their payments should reach out to the financial institution that made the car loan or financed the lease even if that lender is not linked to the manufacturer. This will enable people who owe money on a loan to discuss their options, which can include flexible payment arrangements and payment extensions. Lessees might be able to arrange deferred lease payments as well.

In addition to financial support for existing customers, automakers are introducing new programs to prompt potential buyers who might be on the fence to purchase their vehicle immediately.

General Motors is offering "very well-qualified customers" interest-free financing for 84 months with deferred payments for up to 120 days. Ford Credit is offering to make your first three loan payments while also giving customers the option to delay their first payment for an additional 90 days. Buy an eligible Ford model by April 30, 2020 and you need not pay anything for six months.

Other automakers are also unveiling coronavirus car deals, according to their business requirements.

"Every OEM has a different need based on current inventories and future inventories," J.D. Power's Houston said. "Any program that assures consumers the affordability of the vehicle they are purchasing during uncertain times and gives after-sale support for those who financed their vehicle helps to generate consumer confidence."

With consumer confidence in short supply right now carmakers are also scurrying to assure potential car buyers that in most areas of the country their affiliated dealerships are open for both vehicle sales and service.

Many are emphasizing their online shopping, vehicle purchase, and vehicle delivery options. For example, GM's "Shop. Click. Drive." program at participating dealerships enables customers to browse a dealership's inventory on desktop and mobile devices 24 hours a day. Through that and similar programs, automakers offer consumers the ability to choose a vehicle, estimate a trade-in value, agree on payment, add accessories, and schedule delivery without ever setting foot into a showroom.

Other companies, such as FCA, are also ramping up online buying programs and tools. In light of the fact that many Americans are self-isolating, automakers hope these options will prompt consumers to reconsider buying a vehicle in what has been and could continue to be a troubling economic time.

Projections for U.S. auto sales for the remainder of 2020 range from dreary to disastrous. One "worst-case" projection, a scenario in which prolonged COVID-19 infections combine with a long-term economic slowdown, forecasts that new light-vehicle sales could tumble to 12.1 million this year from 16.9 million in 2019. Should the epidemic be shorter-lived, the latest J.D. Power forecast is for 14.8 million light-vehicle sales in 2020.

 
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Coronavirus Car Payment Plans

Here is a quick summary of what major automakers are offering consumers in light of the coronavirus pandemic:

Acura - Find the best deals!

  • For current Acura owners and lessees: Payment extensions and deferrals, as well as late fee waivers, are available to customers of Acura Financial Services
  • For prospective Acura buyers: Deferred first payment for 90 days when financing through Acura Financial Services; $500 in loyalty cash to buy or lease a new Acura; low-APR financing for certified used TLX and RDX models until June 1, 2020
  • Related: Acura Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Audi - Find the best deals!

  • For current Audi owners and lessees: Contact Audi Financial Services for assistance necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • For prospective Audi buyers: No announced programs aside from existing offers

BMW - Find the best deals!

  • For current BMW owners and lessees: Contact BMW Financial Services for assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • For prospective BMW buyers: On new and certified pre-owned BMWs, 90 days of deferred payments for vehicles purchased between March 1 and June 30, 2020. Offer applies only to BMW Retail contracts, and may not be available in all states
  • Related: BMW Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Fiat-Chrysler (Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram) - Find the best deals!

  • For current FCA owners and lessees: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis for customers using Chrysler Capital
  • For prospective FCA buyers: Interest-free financing for 84 months on some Ram Trucks, Dodge and Jeep vehicles; 0% financing for 60 months on 2020 model Chrysler Pacificas and deferred payments for 90 days on some 2019 and 2020 models
  • Related: Jeep Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Ford Motor Company (Ford, Lincoln) - Find the best deals!

  • For current Ford owners and lessees: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis for customers of Ford Credit
  • For prospective Ford buyers: First payment deferred for 90 days, and Ford will then make your first three payments. You must take delivery by April 30, 2020, and the program is limited to specific models and to a maximum amount of money. Buyers can shop online and take home delivery of a new vehicle
  • Related: Ford Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) - Find the best deals!

  • For current GM owners and lessees: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis for customers of GM Financial. Complimentary OnStar Crisis Assist and Wi-Fi.
  • For prospective GM brand buyers: Interest-free financing for 84 months with deferred payments for up to 120 days on selected vehicles. Buyers can shop online and take home delivery of a new vehicle, and first responders qualify for special discounts on selected models
  • Related: General Motors Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Genesis - Find the best deals!

  • For current Genesis owners and lessees: Up to 90 days of deferred payments for current customers and up to six months of payment waivers for new owners who lose their jobs by December 31, 2020 and either purchased or leased a vehicle between March 14 and April 30, 2020. Both programs apply only to Genesis Finance customers.
  • For prospective Genesis buyers: No-interest financing for 84 months and deferred payments for up to 120 days on 2019 G70 models
  • Related: Genesis Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Honda - Find the best deals!

  • For current Honda owners and lessees: Payment extensions and deferrals, as well as late fee waivers are available to customers of Honda Financial Services
  • For prospective Honda buyers: Deferred first payment for 90 days when financing through Honda Financial Services; $1,000 in loyalty cash to buy or lease a new Honda; low-APR financing for certified used Accord, Civic, and CR-V models purchased by June 1, 2020
  • Related: Honda Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Hyundai - Find the best deals!

  • For current Hyundai owners and lessees: Up to 90 days of deferred payments for current customers and up to six months of waived payments for new owners who purchase or lease their vehicle between March 14 and April 30, 2020 and lose their job between now and December 31, 2020. Both programs apply only to Hyundai Capital customers. Hyundai also extended warranty protection on older models to prevent expirations between March and June, and has introduced ‘contactless’ service procedures at dealerships.
  • For prospective Hyundai buyers: 0% financing  for up to 84 months and deferred payments for up to 120 days on selected vehicles purchased now through April 30, 2020.
  • Related: Hyundai Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Infiniti - Find the best deals!

  • For current Infiniti owners and lessees: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on a case-by-case basis to customers of Infiniti Financial Services
  • For prospective Infiniti owners and lessees: No announced programs aside from existing offers

Jaguar/Land Rover - Find the best deals!

  • For current Jaguar and Land Rover owners and lessees: Customers leasing through Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group can extend an expiring lease for up to six months. For existing customers who return for a new lease, two payments of up to $750 each are waived
  • For prospective Jaguar and Land Rover owners and lessees: No-interest financing for 72 months and deferred first payment for 90 days for vehicles financed through Jaguar Land Rover Financial Group. This offer is good through May 31, 2020, and includes the updated 2021 Jaguar F-Type sports car
  • Related: Jaguar Land Rover Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Kia - Find the best deals!

  • For current Kia owners and lessees: Up to three 30-day payment extensions granted on a case-by-case basis to people impacted by COVID-19. Available only to Kia Motors Finance customers
  • For prospective Kia owners and lessees: No-interest financing for 72 months and deferred first payment for 120 days for selected vehicles financed before March 31, 2020.
  • Related: Kia Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Lexus - Find the best deals!

  • For current Lexus owners: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis through Lexus Financial Services
  • For prospective Lexus owners and lessees: No announced programs aside from existing offers

Maserati - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs aside from existing offers

Mazda - Find the best deals!

  • For current Mazda owners: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis through Mazda Capital Services
  • For prospective Mazda owners and lessees: No announced programs aside from existing offers

Mercedes-Benz - Find the best deals!

  • For current Mercedes-Benz owners and lessees: Contact Mercedes-Benz Financial Services for assistance due to COVID-19
  • For prospective Mercedes-Benz buyers: No announced programs aside from existing offers

Mini - Find the best deals!

  • For current Mini owners and lessees: Mini is extending by 30 days vehicle warranty and maintenance plans expiring between March 16 and April 16, 2020. For lease expiration and payment assistance, contact Mini Financial Services.
  • For prospective Mini buyers: Mini is offering deferred payments for up to 90 days, and financing as low as 1.9% for up to 60 months. Several low-payment lease deals are also available. Customers must take delivery by April 30, 2020.
  • Related: Mini Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Mitsubishi - Find the best deals!

Nissan - Find the best deals!

  • For current Nissan owners and lessees: rescheduling of payments on a case-by-case basis for vehicles financed through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation
  • For prospective Nissan buyers: Available for select models, 0% financing and 90 days of deferred payments for new retail customers
  • Related: Nissan Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Porsche - Find the best deals!

  • For current Porsche owners and lessees: People whose leases through Porsche Financial Services expire in April can extend lease contracts for up to six months, four months longer than normal. On a case-by-case basis, lease payment deferrals of 30 or 60 days are available to owners suffering economic hardship. Increasing numbers of Porsche dealerships are also offering valet service for maintenance and repair.
  • For prospective Porsche buyers: Porsche has accelerated the rollout of its online retail program, allowing customers to handle the entire transaction on the internet. Home delivery of new and certified pre-owned Porsches is also available.
  • Related: Porsche Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Subaru - Find the best deals!

Tesla - Find the best deals!

  • For current Tesla owners and lessees: Reduced contact between car owners and Tesla Rangers, the people who service vehicles on-site or collect a vehicle for transport to a repair facility
  • For new Tesla buyers: New Tesla Express Delivery and Direct Drop services reduce the amount of interaction during the delivery process. Direct Drop allows most paperwork to be completed digitally but is offered only in select states.

Toyota - Find the best deals!

  • For current Toyota owners: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis for customers of Toyota Financial Services
  • For prospective Toyota brand owners and lessees: Deferred first payment for 90 days on new and certified-used vehicles
  • Related: Toyota Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Volkswagen - Find the best deals!

  • For current Volkswagen owners: Payment deferments for up to 90 days and lease extensions for up to six months for customers of Volkswagen Credit. Some dealers may offer valet pick-up and drop-off service for maintenance and repairs
  • For prospective Volkswagen brand owners and lessees: Zero-percent interest for up to 72 months and deferred first payment for 180 days
  • Related: Volkswagen Coronavirus Financial Relief and New Car Incentives

Volvo - Find the best deals!

  • For current Volvo owners: Customers with expiring leases or who are facing financial difficulties related to COVID-19 can call Volvo Car Financial Services to request a lease extension or to discuss payment options.
  • For prospective Volvo brand owners and lessees: Volvo reminds prospective customers that they can shop for a new vehicle online and have it delivered to their home.

Remember, in the event that you did not purchase your vehicle through a car company's captive finance arm, such as Ford Motor Credit or Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, J.D. Power advises that you contact your finance company or lender directly to set up an amended payment plan or to defer payments.

J.D. Power will update this page as more automakers announce similar programs.

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