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COVID-19 is everywhere and so too, are the messages from companies trying to let you know that they are trying to respond to these “unprecedented”, “trying” or “unique” times.
This onslaught of messaging from TV ads to online promotions to emails directed at customers and subscribers represent a combination of good customer service and survivalism. In the automotive sector concerns are huge that with the economy in a major, albeit temporary shutdown that customers will not be able to make their regular vehicle payments. Dealers are also grappling with the reality of an almost non-existent market for new vehicle purchases at the moment.
Consumers on the flip-side are also worried about how or if they will make their next payment. And for those who still need to drive but are using vehicles that are better left for the scrap heap, how will they be able to find a way to purchase the vehicle they so desperately need while temporarily not working.
Almost every automaker that sells in Canada has developed a policy of some sort that deals with these unprecedented realities. Take a visit to their respective consumer websites and just about every one of them have prominently placed a header or some reference on their home page which links to their policies around COVID-19. And while almost everyone has a policy of some sort, not all policies are equal or consistent.
The most common approach seems to be that automakers will work with customers on a case by case basis. Customers are encouraged to reach out proactively to discuss options and their situation, but little specific details in these cases are posted publicly. Assistance for existing customers usually takes the form of deferred payment options, extending of warranties and complimentary subscription services such as roadside assistance.
Some automakers have been more proactive with their offerings when it comes to new vehicle purchases. Ford for example has offered for a limited time that any new purchases made on select vehicles will come with 3 months of deferred payments as well as 3 months of payments being waved.
Some companies such as General Motors and Mitsubishi have made special discount purchase offers to professional healthcare workers as a way of saying thank you. G.M. has also made their OnStar data services free for a limited time to all subscribers, as well as 0% interest and no payments for 180 days financing as an incentive to buy now.
Other automakers with new car purchase incentives such as zero interest, making no payments for a period of time or deferred payments include Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, Subaru, and Mitsubishi.
No public information regarding COVID-19 could be found on the websites of Tesla, Rolls Royce, Bentley Motors, Aston Martin, Bugatti and Maserati.
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