Can't pay the car note? That's okay

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A lot goes through a person's mind before they buy a car. Finances are generally at the top of the list.  "You got to be able to afford the payments and the down payment and be comfortable," knows Cody Copaus who bought a car about three years ago.

Hyundai knows those issues are keeping buyers away. Then Hyundai got the bright idea to give consumers a second chance. What if you can walk away from your loan or lease and leave the car behind, free of payments? Franchise owner, Rex Perry said, "Yeah, just turn in the keys and walk away. That's pretty neat." That may sound like some fast talking sales pitch. "I was even a little suspicious, you know. This gotta have some fine print, " said Perry. Perry researched it and signed into the deal real quick. "I first thought it was something for somebody who may lose their income or come upon some unfortunate situation, but really it speaks to the character of the Hyundai Corporation. It has to do with somebody that's in the military. That might be transferred overseas or someone in the first year of ownership might become disabled," explained Perry. The manufacturer will refund the depreciation up to $7,500-hundred dollars.  "As long as you make two payments and you're current with your payment, " said Perry.  Also you can extend the assurance for another year, but you'll have to pay a fee.

It's still too early to know exactly how many people will actually need this program. Right now it's a marketing tool to help bring people to the car lots. The option of returning a vehicle is nice, but financial advisors tell consumers not to extend their income. "Know that you have stability and you have the capability of being responsible," is the advice Capaus followed before buying a car. He's been successful in staying up with his notes.

Hyundai is wanting the incentive program to help change a 10% drop in sales.

A drop in automobile car sales is hurting county budgets. The sales tax off those big purchases are what goes toward maintaining county roads, paying law enforcement and supporting other county services. Visit most any tax assessor in the state and you'll learn the impact the significant drop in new 2008 car sales is having. In 2007 Nacogdoches County car receipts and revenue brought in $6.2 million in sales tax, primarily from the sale of new cars went into county coffers. But last year it dropped to $5.6 million, the biggest drop that tax office employees can remember.