Mini is offering to work with car owners on an individual basis during the coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus epidemic is having a drastic impact on the auto industry, manufacturers largely shutting down their North American production operations through at least March 30, even as sales are expected to drop by more than half next month. But buyers are also being slammed, as are existing vehicle owners, especially those who still owe on loans and leases.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, financial trackers like Experian were warning of an increase in the number of owners falling behind on payments – about 7 million at least 90 days delinquent. And that number is expected to skyrocket along with pandemic-related job cuts. Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a national employment tracking firm, on Friday reported that it had already recorded more than 9,000 COVID-19-related job losses, with another 14 million U.S. jobs “threatened.”

A number of automakers and other lenders have already decided that the best approach is a proactive one, laying out ways that those struggling to meet their automotive debts may be able to revise current payment plans or even temporarily delay payments. Here’s a look at what manufacturers have so far laid out for both existing owners and new buyers:

(Facing sales collapse, wave of repos, automakers reach out to consumers.)

BMW (including BMW and Mini brands)

·         The automaker says it will work with customers on an individual basis to discuss possible assistance or relief with loans and leases

Fiat Chrysler says current owners may be eligible for flexible payment plans or extensions.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (brands including Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Ram)

·         Current owners and leases may qualify for flexible payments or payment extensions, the automaker to decide on a case-by-case basis

·         FCA also is offering 0% financing and/or deferred payment options on a variety of models

Ford (including Ford and Lincoln brands)

·         Existing owners and lessees can negotiate flexible payment plans and payment extensions on a case-by-case basis

·         New buyers may be able to defer payments for up to 90 days

General Motors (including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC)

General Motors is offering 0% financing for 84 months on new vehicles for qualifying buyers.

·         Existing owners and lessees can discuss flexible payment plans and payment extensions, again, on a case-by-case basis

·         Qualifying customers can get 0% loan rates for up to 84 months while also deferring payments for up to 120 days

Hyundai Group (including Genesis, Hyundai and Kia)

·         Those who purchase or lease vehicles from March 14 through April 30, 2020, and then lose their jobs can have up to six months of payments covered under a job guarantee promotion. Details may vary slightly by brand

(Detroit automakers set to temporarily shutter North American production.)

Mercedes-Benz

·         For existing customers, case-by-case consideration of options including payment deferral

Mitsubishi

·         For existing customers who financed through Ally, up to 120 days of payment deferments

·         New customers may qualify for up to 90 days of deferred payments

Nissan has established a hotline for customers to determine if they are eligible to reschedule they’re payment plan.

Nissan (including Nissan and Infiniti brands)

·         Automaker has set up hotline for existing customers who may be eligible to reschedule current repayment plan

·         Prospective customers may be eligible for deferred payments, depending on loan length

Toyota (including Toyota and Lexus brands)

·         Current customers may qualify for flexible payment arrangement or  payment extensions on a case-by-case basis

Note that the payment assistance an automaker might be offering may be available only to customers who used their “captive,” or in-house lending units, such as Ford Motor Credit. But not everyone goes that route. Some banks and other lenders are also offering payment relief. That includes Capital One and Wells Fargo, who tell customers to reach out to them on a one-by-one basis.

(U.S. car sales verging on Great Recession-level collapse.)

We will update this report as we learn of other automotive finance relief efforts.

Don't miss out!
Get Email Alerts
Receive the latest Automotive News in your Inbox!
Invalid email address
Send me emails
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.