If you're a Ford (NYSE:F) owner who's concerned about making your car payments after a coronavirus-related financial setback, the company issued some good news for you on Monday...that is, if you got your auto loan through Ford Credit, the company's lending arm.
In a press release, the company encouraged "customers in the U.S. impacted by COVID-19 to contact the company to discuss potential delay of payments to provide relief." In addition, Ford Credit rolled out a deferred payment program offering new vehicle purchasers the option to wait 90 days before making their first payment.
Revisiting the past
Concerned about falling sales, Ford rolled out a similar program during the Great Recession to encourage sales. Dubbed the "Ford Advantage Plan," the 2009 version offered payment protection for up to a year in the event of a job loss. It's too early to tell whether job losses will become a major feature of the current coronavirus pandemic, but lost wages are a certainty as the illness spreads, forcing people into quarantine or into caring for a stricken family member.
Even those who don't contract the virus may find themselves in financial straits as parents stay home with children whose school has been cancelled and bar and restaurant employees have their businesses shuttered by states trying to limit the spread of the virus.
Par for the course
Other automakers may follow Ford's lead.
Hyundai (OTC:HYMTF) has already dusted off its own Great Recession-era program, known as "Hyundai Assurance." Ford's program seems to be more robust, however, as Hyundai Assurance is specifically for future purchasers "if they lose their job due to COVID-19 this year."
No word yet from General Motors on whether it plans to resurrect its "GM Total Confidence Program," a similar effort from 2009.