It was a program that seemed too good to be true, one where Hyundai would guarantee a specific buy-back value for customers who decided to trade in their automobiles after a three to four year period. Lauded at the time it was launched in the second quarter of 2011, Hyundai has decided to lay to rest the initiative for the majority of its lineup, meaning that buyers will no longer be able to count on a definite cash price for their cars and SUVs at a Hyundai dealer when it comes time to upgrade.
Hyundai rolled out the buy-back promotion primarily as a marketing effort designed to attract new blood into its showrooms. The Korean car company has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last few years from its prior reputation as the builder of affordable but ultimately disposable cars to that of a brand that provides high residual values and well-designed automobiles across the board. According to the Automotive News, used Hyundai cars' residual values set by consulting partner AGL in order to pin future prices on its vehicles, and while these values have continued to increase since the program was first introduced the company feels that it has served its purpose in highlighting the strengths of most of the cars in the Hyundai stable.
The guaranteed buy-back promotion has not entirely disappeared from Hyundai's marketing palette. The automaker will still offer set-in-stone residual values on its group of premium vehicles: the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the Hyundai Genesis sedan and the Hyundai Equus sedan. The three automobiles could very well be spun off into their own sub-brand over the course of the next few years as Hyundai attempts to steer shoppers away from traditional luxury choices such built by Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Acura. Maintaining the residual value guarantee on these three models is yet another method for Hyundai to experiment with separating them from the rest of the lineup in terms of their perception by potential customers.
It also helps to illustrate a rarely-discussed reason as to why premium shoppers might want to get behind the wheel of a Hyundai instead of a BMW: resale value. Luxury cars are notorious for rapid rates of depreciation, especially within the first few years of ownership. Hyundai boasts that the Hyundai Equus lags behind only full-size sedans produced by Lexus and Jaguar in terms of residual value, and while this might have something to do with the fact that its MSRP undercuts both of those rivals by a fair margin, it still provides food for thought for new luxury car customers unencumbered by years of pre-programmed brand loyalty.