BUYING, or at least paying for, a new car could be as easy as signing up for a new mobile phone plan as part of a new deal Hyundai has announced, with the side benefit being that Australians might trade in their new vehicles as often as they do their handsets.
Hyundai Shield, which was announced yesterday, offers a new kind of car-finance plan in which you pay no deposit, take your choice of Hyundai (i30, new Tucson, Genesis, Hyundai Santa Fe or Sonata at this stage, with the whole range becoming available in 2016) and make monthly payments - which include servicing costs - for three or four years.
At the end of your agreement you can either keep the car, and pay off what’s owing in monthly instalments, use the car’s “guaranteed future value” to upgrade to a new Hyundai, or return the car to your dealer and walk away.
Hyundai Australia chief operating officer John Elsworth says the Shield program will “make owning a car just like owing a mobile phone, you pay a monthly fee, and then you go and get another one”, the only difference being that you don’t throw the old one in a drawer and forget about it.
Elsworth admits the bonus for his company from the financing system - which will be supported by St George Bank - is that it “shortens the buying cycle”, meaning consumers will hopefully upgrade more often, just as they do with phones.
Speaking at the launch of the company’s new mid-size Tucson SUV, Elsworth also confirmed that neither the new i10 or i20 will come to Australia, and that the i20 – currently under development in Europe with a turbocharged engine - will now disappear from view, leaving the ageing Accent as the company’s only light-car offering.
“We were simply not able to come to an acceptable commercial arrangement with our European counterparts (to source the new i10 or i20), for two reasons; the exchange rate and logistics costs, so it was simply not economically viable,” Elsworth said.
Instead, Hyundai Australia will attempt to fill the volume offered by i20 sales by making its Accent cheaper; rolling back prices by $2000 so that a 1.4-litre manual Accent will be offered at $14,990 with the 1.6-litre SR version at $16,990. A CVT option will add $2000 to that price.
Buyers should expect even cheaper drive-away offers, after Hyundai dealers mounted an Accent promotion plan in June, leading to the biggest month of sales for the nameplate ever in this country.
“When we have a push on with Accent, we know there is available market there for us, so that’s a good sign,” Elsworth said. “We’ll adjust pricing as necessary.”
Hyundai is on course to break its own sales records in 2015, with 50,099 sales recorded in the first half of the year and the i30 becoming Australia’s number one selling vehicle for the month of June.