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

This story was originally released on 3/16/2020, with the latest update coming on 3/31/2020. Continue to check back for the most up to date information.

In a swift response to the economic uncertainty fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, 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, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota are among the major car manufacturers who have announced coronavirus car payment plans and programs. Other carmakers may follow 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.

"OEM’s and their captive finance partners have a number of tools to support consumers during times of uncertainty, both those looking to purchase a new vehicle as well as those looking to continue maintain their existing vehicle" said James Houston, J.D. Power Managing Director, Consumer Lending and Automotive Finance.

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, and Toyota Financial Services 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.

Furthermore, most automakers are asking their current customers who anticipate trouble making their payments to 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 the customers 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 a program giving customers the option to delay their first payment for 90 days.

Other automakers are expected to unveil similar coronavirus car deals, according to their business requirements.

"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." J.D. Power's Houston said.

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 and vehicle-purchase 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.

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.

The most recent projections for U.S. auto sales for calendar-year 2020, created as the coronavirus pandemic is escalating, 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 will tumble to 14.5 million this year. That's down 14.9%, or 2.4 million car sales, compared to final 2019 results. Should the epidemic be shorter-lived, the forecast is for 16.4 million light-vehicle sales this year, off 3.8% from the 2019 sales total.

 
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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
  • For prospective Acura buyers: 90-day deferred first payment 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

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

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: No announced programs

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

  • For current Fiat-Chrysler owners and lessees: Flexible payment arrangements, payment extensions on case-by-case basis
  • For prospective Fiat-Chrysler buyers: 0% 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 non-hybrid Pacifica models; deferred payments for 90 days on some 2019 and 2020 models

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 prospective Ford buyers: First payment deferred for 90 days, and Ford will then make your first three payments. 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 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
  • 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: Deferred payments up to 90 days on 2019 G70 models

Honda - Find the best deals!

  • For current Honda owners and lessees: Payment extensions and deferrals, as well as late fee waivers are available
  • For prospective Honda buyers: 90-day deferred first payment 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
  • 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.
  • For prospective Hyundai buyers: 0% financing and deferred payments up to 90 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
  • For prospective Infiniti owners and lessees: Contact your local dealership for special financing options.

Jaguar/Land Rover - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs

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
  • For prospective Kia owners and lessees: 0% 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

Maserati - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs

Mazda - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs

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

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: No announced programs

Mitsubishi - Find the best deals!

  • For current Mitsubishi owners and lessees: Up to 120 days of deferred payments for vehicles financed through Ally
  • For prospective Mitsubishi buyers: Up to 90 days of deferred payments for vehicles financed through Ally

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.

Subaru - Find the best deals!

  • For current Subaru owners and lessees: No announced programs
  • For prospective Subaru buyers: 0% financing for 63 months on Ascent, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback

Tesla - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs

Toyota - Find the best deals!

Volkswagen - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs

Volvo - Find the best deals!

  • No announced programs

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.