• Focus on transparent pricing
  • Flexible test drives can come to you
  • Online qualification reduces time at the dealership
  • Worry-free 3-day exchange feature

 

Since its debut as a pilot program 18 months ago, the Hyundai Shopper Assurance has been rolled out nationally from its four market tests in Miami, Orlando, Dallas and Houston. Designed to make car buying easier, Hyundai Shopper Assurance is supported by four pillars: transparent pricing; flexible test drives; streamlining the dealership purchase process and offering a 3-day worry-free exchange.

When the pilot was announced, Dean Evans, chief marketing officer at Hyundai Motor America, said that the program was part of a paradigm shift in the car buying process. The program is driven largely by the speed and convenience of purchasing everyday items online and taking the best elements of that experience and incorporating it into the traditional car buying process.

“We have taken a leadership role,” Evans said of the Assurance Program. “With the national rollout, more dealers are focused on that North Star [making the process easier] and stay focused on it.” To date, nearly 700 of Hyundai’s 835 dealerships offer the program.

Digital tools speed the process

Hyundai Shopper Assurance is designed to address the major pain points expressed by consumers. According to research conducted by the brand, a majority of new car buyers have some level of frustration whether it is in determining the price of the vehicle and negotiating and sealing a deal, which can take nearly a total of 15 hours to complete, start to finish.  Up to a third of that time could be spent at the dealership.

“Dealers have done a fantastic job over the decades conditioning consumers to be defensive once they walk in the door,” said Juston Anderson, general manager of Buerkle Hyundai in St. Paul, Minn. “I wouldn’t shop that way, why would we expect a customer to shop that way.”

The Hyundai Shopper Assurance program is designed to streamline that entire process by using digital tools upfront, which in turn, makes the process at the dealer go smoother and quicker.

Transparent pricing

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles in finding a new car is determining the actual price. That’s where transparent pricing comes into play. Evans said dealers participating in the program have to certify that their pricing, not just MSRP, but all relevant incentives and average transaction price estimates are included at the VIN level on vehicles not only on the store’s website, but also available on showroom tools like kiosks and tablets.

“You can’t just plug in an MSRP and say, ‘call me’,” Evans said, adding that this level of transparency gives consumers a reasonable expectation on what the deal is going to look like even before they step onto the showroom floor.

Flexible test drives

Another pillar in the process is getting prospects behind the wheel in test drives, whether they come to the dealership or opt to have the dealer rep come to them. “We will come to you in a remote or incentivize you to come to us for a test,” Evans said. “Today, if you’re on our website, we throw up a $50 test drive incentive to have you come to us.” Shoppers can also have the dealer bring a car to them, either to home, work or other convenient location. In those instances, Evans says the $50 incentive is used to compensate the salesperson for the remote test.

Shannon Kominowski, general manager of Holler Hyundai in Winter Park, Fla., notes “One thing that we were super excited about was the mobile test drive and I was actually a little shocked that consumers weren’t really interested in doing that, even among our millennial customers. If they did go online and book, they were like ‘We’re doing a test drive at the dealership.’ When the customer comes in here and they know you are prepared, you’ve made them feel like a VIP. That is one huge benefit to the mobile app in the requesting of a test drive online.”

Evans says that only one percent of Hyundai shoppers have requested a remote test drive. He said the advantages to coming into the store outweigh the convenience in that they can get behind the wheel of several different trim levels and models, making their time spent more efficient. So far, Hyundai has conducted nearly a half-million test drives with the program.

Less paperwork

By gathering a lot of information online before the dealer visit, Evans said that a tremendous amount of time can be cut out in the buying process.  “We have all your information,” Evans said, so “we can go right to test drive.” With transparent pricing there’s less negotiating and by streamlining the paperwork, the deal comes together faster with less stress.

While there is a push in the industry to go paperless, online transactions where the customer doesn’t have to set foot in the store, Evans believes that the dealership plays an important role in both the transaction and subsequent owner experience through service. It’s a blend of the best elements of online shopping and in-store interaction.  “I like this middle way,” Evans said. “Stress lower on negotiation, credit score and so on. Doing that better will trump doing a deal where we don’t see a customer. I would rather focus on the 99 percent [who buy in person being] treated better, than [focusing on the] one percent who can get a car delivered without ever seeing anyone.”

3-day exchanges

The final element of the Hyundai Buyer Assurance program is the peace of mind that if you’re dissatisfied with your purchase that you have a recourse of either exchanging the vehicle for another or in some cases depending on the dealer, getting your money back. Evans said that in the 475,000 transactions that have been done under the program, the number of returns or exchanges number only in double digits.

Peter Lanzavecchia, who owns Burns Hyundai in Marleton, N.J. sums up the program by saying “What we do is give auto shoppers a reason to consider the Hyundai brand because we have through Shopper Assurance, designed a better shopping experience. By the way it’s not just better shopping, it’s better purchasing and ultimately better delivery.”

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