Automakers slash rates, add deals, offer help to new buyers amid coronavirus slowdown
Automakers across the U.S. are slashing interest rates, assisting with payments, and offering other incentives to buyers and owners as shoppers largely hunker down during the typically busy spring season.
Although it’s unclear how a prolonged outbreak may impact owners and shoppers, several automakers have offered assistance for up to six months to ease any potential burdens.
Major lenders such as Wells Fargo and Ally Financial have pledged similar assistance, according to Automotive News. Last week, the Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate to zero or near-zero to spur lending to consumers.
Honda says new owners that have financed through the automaker may apply for payment deferrals or extensions for their cars by visiting Honda Financial Services’ website. Additionally, the automaker says it will defer payments for 90 days on new cars purchased from the automaker for qualifying customers.
Subaru says new owners may be eligible to defer payments for up to 90 days, and the automaker is offering zero-interest loans for 63 months on Legacy, Outback, Impreza, Forester, and Ascent. Crosstrek, WRX, and BRZ models can be financed for as low as 0.9% for 48 months.
Current lessees can also extend their agreements if needed, on a case-by-case basis.
Infiniti spokesman Kyle Bazemore said the automaker is offering low-interest loans for 60- and 72-month terms, when financed through Infiniti’s lender.
Additionally, new owners can apply for deferred payments for up to 90 days.
Current owners may be eligible for deferred payments or extensions, depending on circumstances, according to Toyota Financial Services spokesman Vincent Bray.
New owners may also qualify for 90-day deferred payments on new models or certified pre-owned cars.
Current lessees of Porsches can extend their contracts for up to six months past the turn-in date, the automaker said. Additionally, lessees can apply for deferred payments for up to 60 days.
In a letter to owners and dealers, Mitsubishi Motors North America CEO Fred Diaz said current owners who’ve financed through Ally can apply for deferred payments for up to 120 days. Shoppers who purchase Mitsubishi vehicles and finance through Ally may also apply for up to 90 days of deferred payments on their new vehicles.
New owners of 2019 and 2020 models who financed through Ford’s lending arm can defer up to three months of payments and Ford will pay for an additional three months of payments under its “Built to Lend a Hand” program. Additionally, most dealers are offering remote vehicle delivery for service through the FordPass app.
Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac
General Motors this week offered interest-free financing for up to 84 months on some of its Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, and Cadillac cars and trucks. Additionally, about 16 million owners with OnStar-equipped vehicles now have 3 GB of internet data to work on the road or from the car.
“We wanted to send a very clear message to our customers that GM and its dealers are there for them,” GM spokesman Jim Cain said.
Cain said GM’s lending arm also would help customers affected by job cuts or work slowdowns with payment assistance.
GM also said it would deliver cars to new owners’ homes instead of asking them to travel to dealers.
Dodge, Ram, Chrylser, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo
According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokesman Jeff Bennett, current owners can contact Chrysler Capital or Ally Financial to discuss payment options if their jobs have been affected by the slowdown.
Hyundai and Genesis
Last week, Hyundai and Genesis announced they would help new owners for up to six months with payment assistance if their jobs were impacted by the coronavirus.
Additionally, the automakers said they could defer payments for up to 90 days on some new cars purchased before April 30. Those cars included the 2019 Genesis G70 and Hyundai Kona, Santa Fe, Accent, Elantra, and others.
The major lending arm for Nissan said it would provide flexible payment plans to owners.
This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE: Added Lexus/Toyota, Subaru, Infiniti (March 26).
UPDATE: Added Ford and Mitsubishi information (March 19).
UPDATE: Added Acura/Honda and Porsche (March 16).