The Korean automaker said Tuesday that it's implementing a plan that will let Hyundai owners defer payments on their cars if they've been put out of work by the government shutdown. Under the plan, current Hyundai owners who have been furloughed may defer payments for the duration of the shutdown. And any furloughed government worker who buys or leases a new Hyundai this month won't have to make any payments until January. Obviously, this will only be an option if you've financed your car through Hyundai Finance America; if you financed your car through another bank, Hyundai has no say in when you make payments.
About 800,000 federal workers are currently out of work and without pay while House Republicans hold the budget hostage. And while Hyundai's promotion is, by and large, a publicity stunt, it will certainly come as a relief to any of those 800,000 who were looking at an impending car payment on a Hyundai and wondering how they were going to cover it.
Hyundai is only deferring the payments, not canceling them, so once the government reopens for business, the workers will need to make the payments they missed. That shouldn't be a problem if they wind up getting retroactive pay for their time out of work, which was the case after the last government shutdown. However, that isn't assured this time around. While nine House Democrats and three House Republicans have already put a bill on the table to guarantee those workers get their back pay, some congressional Republicans who lean further to the right don't seem convinced that it's a good idea.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.