Part of the Series: More Similar Than You’d Think: Hyundai, IBM, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and Amazon
Hyundai takes a broader view of customer needs – selling cars is about much more than the car itself.
The main reason why people aren’t buying cars today is that they’re afraid of losing their jobs, as reported by the Associated Press in BusinessWeek Online in late February:
“Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for the auto Web site Edmunds.com, said would-be car buyers are becoming increasingly scared that they won’t have a job down the road.”
In fact consumer confidence and fear of job loss is a bigger problem than lack of credit. The article went on to discuss the innovative Hyundai Assurance Program:
“Citi’s Itay Michaeli said programs such as Hyundai’s “Assurance” might be the best way to restore car buyers’ confidence. Under the program, the South Korea-based automaker will cover the depreciation on any returned leased or financed vehicle for the first 12 months if buyers find themselves unable to make payments. Customers must have been stricken by misfortune outside of their control, such as job loss, disability or the loss of a driver’s license for medical reasons.”
Hyundai recently sweetened the offer and now will pay 3 months of car payments while you’re out of work. Hyundai’s program is powered by WalkAway.
Of course, Hyundai’s end-game is to sell cars. That’s where they make their money. But they’re looking at the car-buying experience from the perspective of the buyer. The buyer may need a car, but the buyers also needs a security blanket in case they lose their job. And Hyundai’s solution does just that.
Hyundai’s solution includes not only the car but the peace of mind that, should the purchaser should lose their job, they can still return the car (and more). Hyundai can’t guarantee that the person will keep their job but in the context of buying the car, they did the next best thing.
And this is what solutions are all about – starting with what the customer needs to solve a problem, taking a broad view (in this case beyond the car itself) and finding the means to solve that problem with a complete solution. And it goes to show that not all solutions are in technology!
UPDATE: See the brief post from 3/10/2009.