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 |  Apr 01 2009, 4:58 PM

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Hyundai performed well above the industry average for March, which may be one of the main reasons by both Ford and GM have copied the Korean automaker’s job-loss protection incentive. (Photo Credit: Liberty Cars]

Well, it ain’t getting any better. The recession continues to bully automakers as creditors continue to bang on their front doors

The industry average for car sales in the U.S. for the month of March is 36.8 percent below last year – and to a certain extent that sugar coats the problem as many of the major automakers posted worse numbers.

General Motors once again has the dubious distinction of the worst sales with a decline of 44.7 percent. Ford did only slight better less-worse with a decline of 42.1 percent. Chrysler was down 39.3 percent.

And it’s not just the Big 3 that are hurting. Toyota was down 39 percent and Honda dropped 36.3 percent and Nissan 37.7 percent.

Hyundai was one of the few companies to not take a serious hit, with sales decreasing just 3.3 percent. The Korean auto manufacturer has implemented a it’s assurance job-loss protection program and while it’s not clear if that is the reason for the considerably above-average sales, both GM and Ford recently announced similar programs.

Low consumer confidence and a tight credit market continue to be two of the main factors discouraging car sales. Confidence, especially in almost bankrupt companies like General Motors and Chrysler continues to be a major reason for stalled sales. Access to credit has improved slightly, however, something BMW President Jim O’Donnell sites for the less than awful 22.9 percent decline in his company’s sales.

The Obama Administration is also helping increase access to credit by forcing GM’s credit provider GMAC to resume subprime lending.

According to Standard & Poor’s equity analyst Efraim Levy, this may finally be rock bottom for the industry, but that doesn’t mean things are about to improve soon. “We believe we may be at or near the trough of the industry’s year-to-year comparisons but do not see an uptick in industry demand before fourth-quarter 2009 at the earliest.

[Source: Automotive News]

Follow the jump for a full list of manufacturer sales numbers

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Hyundai Return Policy Gets Even Better

Hyundai Assurance plan now includes three months of free payments while owners look for work

 |  Feb 20 2009, 11:48 AM

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Hyundai has just increased the incentive for you to buy one of their cars by updating the Hyundai Assurance car return policy to include 90 days of free payments.

Adding to the existing offer that those who buy a Hyundai and lose their job within a year can return the car, the Korean automaker is now offering 90 days of lease or loan payments while the owner looks for work. If the owner does find work in that time and decides to keep the car, the payment does not need to be repaid.

The new Hyundai Assurance Plus program is being offered as a part of Hyundai’s  Spring Sales Event from February 23 to April 30th.

“We continue to look for ways to help consumers in this challenging economic environment, so we’re offering unprecedented financial protection when they finance or lease a Hyundai,” said Joel Ewanick, vice president, Marketing, Hyundai Motor America. “With our 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, Hyundai Assurance, and now Hyundai Assurance Plus, we’re telling consumers that we are all in this together, and we’ll get through this together.”

And the incentives seem to be working. In January Hyundai recorded a sales increase (yes, you read that right) over the same period a year before by a total of 14.3 percent. This, while industry sales averaged a decline of 37.1 percent.

Hyundai plans to promote this new program during the Academy Awards this Sunday, with seven 30-second spots and one 60-second spot highlighting the company’s commitment to the U.S. market. We can only hope they are as enjoyable as Hyundai’s SuperBowl Ads.

[Source: AutoNews]

Official release after the jump:

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