Hyundai hopes to make the buying process quicker, transparent and less stressful with a new program called Hyundai Shopper Assurance. The program kicked off this week in four markets, Miami and Orlando, Fla., and Dallas and Houston, Texas, and it will go nationwide at participating dealers in early 2018.

The program is aimed at car shoppers who dread high pressure tactics in the car buying or lease experience. Specifically, they hate the back and forth haggling over the price of the new car and the value of the trade-in, the hours it may take to negotiate the deal, and then if the dealership is busy, the extra time it takes to approve the deal. Cox Automotive conducted a survey of 4,002 car shoppers a few years ago. Of that number, only 17 were thoroughly satisfied with the dealership experience.

 Dean Evans, chief marketing officer at Hyundai Motor America, said “I don’t have to tell you that we are undergoing a paradigm shift when it comes to how people are buying. Digital is disrupting traditional marketing and it has been for some time. Customers who have experienced the speed and convenience of buying something online, say from Amazon, now want that same experience wherever they shop for literally everything, music, shoes, food, hotel rooms and cars.” Evans spoke at the automaker’s press event announcing the Shopper Assurance program.

Online experience

Through Shopper Assurance, assuming the buyer knows what model, equipment and color he or she wants, the first time a buyer would enter a showroom could be to pick up the keys and drive the new vehicle away. Hyundai has 835 dealerships and expects most if not all dealers to participate in the program.

Evans said research showed that 90 percent of Hyundai’s new car buyers reported major frustration when it came to buying a car, taking on average nearly 15 hours to do the research and purchase the vehicle.

“Five of those hours are at our Hyundai store. That is way too long. In addition, 75 percent of those surveyed said if given the opportunity they would consider transacting some or all of the process on line. This includes pricing negotiation, financing and other paper work,” he said. “Think of that, three out of four people surveyed would like an opportunity to have a new experience. So at Hyundai we said, if that is what you want then let’s do it. Let’s come up with a better solution to buy a car for today’s connected shopper, and we have.”

Studies conducted by Cox Automotive show customers dread the hours they must spend at a dealership and want that time reduced to about an hour. The longer they are there, the less satisfied they become. Additionally, satisfaction with the buying experience drops the more people the customer has to deal with at the dealership.

Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance program addresses four key elements of the buying experience:

Transparent Pricing:

Participating dealers will post the price for each model on their website, listing trim, color, and optional equipment. The dealer’s selling price will list the manufacturer’s suggested retail price minus incentives and any additional discounts provided by the dealer. Hyundai says this will eliminate the tension and frustration that results from the buyer and the seller going back and forth until a deal is reached.

“Transparent pricing will give customers added confidence they are getting a fair deal based on the market price of the vehicle,” said Andrew DiFeo, chairman of the Hyundai National Dealer Council and dealer principal at Hyundai of St. Augustine, Fla. “I think it is important to point out that unlike some of those third-party sites, the customer can go on a Hyundai dealer’s website and work out the transaction on a vehicle that actually is in a dealer’s inventory.” Transparent pricing is not a fixed price. Instead it provides customers with more visibility into pricing and more closely matches consumer expectations and the information they can gather through third-party websites, a Hyundai spokesperson said.                                                     

Flexible Test Drive:

Car shoppers can schedule a test drive on their own terms, at the dealership, at their home or office, or even at a favorite coffee shop. There is no need to visit the dealership and ask for a test drive. Consumers will be able to schedule a test drive in the car they selected online.

Streamlined Purchase:

Hyundai expects to reduce the time customers spend at the dealership by letting car buyers complete most of the paperwork online in the comfort of their home. This includes applying for financing, obtaining credit approvals, selecting the term of the loan and calculating monthly payments. The consumer also will be able to find out what their trade-in is worth. Of course, the trade-in value is subject to an inspection of the car by the dealer.

Three-Day Money Back Guarantee:

Any customer who is not satisfied with their purchase or lease is given a three-day buy back period to return the car for a full refund. The guarantee is contingent upon a dealer inspection and the vehicle having fewer than 300 miles since the purchase or lease date. Hyundai says this will give the buyer peace of mind if he or she ends up unhappy with the vehicle. The refund will be given by the dealer where the vehicle was purchased.

“Hyundai Shopper Assurance directly addresses these pain points,” DiFeo said. “Plus it reduces the time required to actually buy the car allowing us more time to perform the perfect delivery, making sure our customers understand all of the vehicle’s technology and features so they can fully enjoy the vehicle from the moment they drive away from the dealership.”

The No. 1 customer frustration in the 2017 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study was paperwork–the purchase contract, financing, etc. Consumers said that they want to do the paperwork, especially the finance application, online at home.

The study showed that negotiating the price is the second most frustrating aspect of the car-buying experience followed by placing a value on the trade-in. In addition, the Cox study showed that car shoppers wanted more time to test drive the vehicle and a separate period to drive the car and focus on the new technology.


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