AutoNation Launches Payment Protection Program

"Desperate times call for desperate measures" seems to be the guideline to follow in these tough economic times. The ball is now in the dealers' court, as they try to hold on to the small customer pool they have left and come up with never-seen-before incentives.

Fort Lauderdale based AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer in the United States decided to give a break to its unfortunate clients who lose their jobs, but still want to hang on to their ride.

The new incentive, called "Payment Protection," is meant to cover up to six months of car payments on both new and used vehicles for those consumers who lose their jobs. The timeframe is considered to be the time required for the customer to find a new job, Reuters reported.

"It is especially timely in this environment. There are really two big issues in retailing, availability of credit and consumer confidence. This attacks the consumer confidence issue," Mike Maroone, AutoNation president was quoted as saying by the aforementioned source.

The program was launched at 33 South Florida dealerships but it may soon become a nationwide incentive. The buyer will not be affected by any additional cost and will resume payments after the 6 month period is over.

"Payment Protection" will not cover business purchases and is, as might have guessed, subject to some terms and conditions. The payments will be covered for the loaned or leased vehicle only during its first year following the purchase. The customers will have to be "involuntary terminated" by the employer and will have to wait for 90 days before being granted access into the program.

We are sure the program was intended as a way to protect both the consumer and the dealership, but questions do arise. For instance, what happens (and it will happen) if some six months later the customer will still not have a job? Will they take the car back or grant another six months payment protection? And if they do take it back, how much will the customer have to pay to make up for the six months of pardon (don't expect to use it for free for half a year)?
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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