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Hyundai's plan for US domination

Editorial Staff

As US Automakers pray that sharply lower petrol prices will mean customers buy the mountains of "gas-guzzling" monsters that Detroit has pumped out without thinking that the market might drop, Hyundai has come up with a novel scheme. And many people will be foolish not to take it.

Here's a thing: get a car that does consistently well in customer satisfaction ratings but your neighbours won't envy - and remove the risk of default on your car loan if you lose your job.

Hyundai, with conditions attached of course, are making a very simple offer: buy one of our cars and if you lose you job in the next year, we'll take it back and clear your loan. They will also (and this seems high-risk) take it back of you declare personal bankruptcy - it's hard to see where the upside is for them, or the buyer, there. If he's bankrupt, then the car loan is the least of his worries.

So, let's say you are driving a three year old Dodge with a slipping clutch, brakes not great and smoke pouring out of the engine. But you bought it intending to fix it up but with one thing and another you've not got around to it and, worse, the thing's got finance attached so selling it is hard.

Get yourself down to Hyundai. They'll buy it off you - and don't worry too much about what they pay, they'll find a way to mould the figures so that the balance from the old car and the cost of the new car are, somehow, rolled into a new finance agreement that is going to cost you about the same as the old one. And, even better, the new car has a full-service warranty so if it goes wrong, they'll fix it.

In a few months, your employer has problems and makes you redundant and Hyundai take back the car under their agreement.

Hey Presto: you've not got a car - but equally, you've not got the liability that the old Dodge represented and you've not got the debt to service. And you've driven a nice, if slightly boring, car for almost a year for, as it turns out, far less per month than the cost of car rentals and taxis.

Anyone that doesn't trade in their old Detroit metal under this scheme - whether or not their jobs are currently under threat - might just be missing one of the best opportunities the recession is presenting.

Oh, and it will use much less fuel as well.