Hyundai rolls out a new retail program, an element of which includes offering unsatisfied buyers a 3-day money back guarantee.

“If the consumer doesn’t love the car he or she can return it in three days for the full value they paid,” Dean Evans, chief marketing officer-Hyundai Motor America, says today in a YouTube live stream announcing the Shopper Assurance program.

The scheme is not without precedent. General Motors and Chrysler offered a money-back guarantee during the recessionary year of 2009, but it was for a longer period of 60 days.

Hyundai also had a similar promotion in 2009 and 2010 as part of its Assurance program, allowing buyers who lost their jobs to return their vehicle in the first 12 months of ownership or a lease.

Buyers wishing to return a new Hyundai vehicle under the new 3-day guarantee must not have put more than 300 miles (483 km) on the odometer, and also have their vehicle undergo an inspection.

Shopper Assurance overall takes the car-buying process more online, something dealers are striving to do but perhaps not under an official program endorsed by the OEM.

Evans promises transparent pricing on participating dealers’ websites, with presented vehicle prices basically MSRP with all discounts factored in; flexible test drives with the dealer bringing a vehicle to a customer if he or she can’t make it to the dealership; and the ability to fill out “most” paperwork, such as credit applications, online.

Hyundai spokesman Michael Stewart does not say what percentage of Hyundai’s 800-plus U.S. retail outlets will opt-in to the program, which first rolls out at the brand’s dealers in Dallas, Houston, Orlando and Miami.

“We are hopeful that most of all of our dealers will participate,” he tells WardsAuto.

Hyundai wants the Shopper Assurance program launched across the U.S. by early 2018, Stewart says, noting it applies solely to Hyundai-brand models and not Genesis luxury vehicles sold in some Hyundai U.S. stores.

Florida dealer Andrew DiFeo, also chairman of the Hyundai National Dealer Council, says the program jibes with Americans’ current propensity to do most if not all of their vehicle research online, as well as purchase goods online.

“More and more people want the convenience and simplicity of shopping online,” he says in the live stream. “I’m especially enthusiastic for the ability for the customers to do the paperwork online before visiting the dealership.”

The latter element, he believes, will free up more time for dealers to explain and demonstrate the ever-expanding feature set of most new vehicles to customers and possibly result in more positive customer-satisfaction scores on third-party surveys. Hyundai placed fifth on this year's J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, but the surveyor noted many new-vehicle owners increasingly are flummoxed by features, controls and displays.

Hyundai no doubt is hoping Shopper Assurance prompts an increase in sales, as well as satisfaction scores.

While the entire U.S. light-vehicle industry has slowed this year – down 1.9% through September – Hyundai’s U.S. sales were off 12.9% in the same period to 511,740, greater than any other automaker’s loss this year.

Not including the Genesis brand – up sharply on modest volume due to a weak year-ago comparison – Hyundai-brand U.S. deliveries fell 15.1% to 496,638 through September, WardsAuto data shows.

Hyundai-brand market share in the same period was 3.9%, down from 4.5% in January-September 2016.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com