A car manufacturer has become the first in the UK to cover finance payments on new cars in the event the owner loses their job due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a groundbreaking move, Alfa Romeo has pledged to pay up to seven months of payments on its models at no cost to the driver.
Customers whose employment circumstances change during the first 12 months of the financial agreement will be eligible for the payment waiver under the Job Loss Protection scheme.
It is a response to research by Alfa Romeo which found almost one third of British motorists are interested in buying a new car but are concerned about their job security.
Arnaud Leclerc, head of brand for Alfa Romeo, EMEA region and managing director for FCA UK and Ireland said: “We know these are uncertain times, so what better way to support our customers than give them the reassurance that should their financial circumstances change in the months ahead, we will be there to cover their monthly car repayments.”
Car dealerships will begin reopening on June 1 after the government began easing restrictions on the retail sector following March’s total shutdown. The survey of 2,000 motorists by Alfa Romeo found one in five had said the pandemic had so far stopped them buying a new or used car.
And four in 10 revealed concerns about entering a showroom due to Covid-19, with one fifth saying a safe buying process was one of the most important factors when considering buying a car. But 62 per cent said they would road test a new car if they saw a professional cleaner disinfect the interior before they were allowed to drive it.
More than a third (36 per cent) also said they would consider buying a new car if the manufacturer covered finance payments as a result of them losing their job due to Covid-19. To ensure safety among staff and customers, all Fiat, Abarth, Jeep and Alfa Romeo dealerships are undergoing a strict cleaning process. Staff will be wearing gloves and facemasks and respecting social distancing.
New cars are delivered with a certified level of hygiene and all cars will be thoroughly cleaned between each appointment and customers will be able to road test cars without an accompanying salesperson.
The unique protection, available in conjunction with selected finance products, comes with all new Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Abarth and Jeep models and covers involuntary job loss as well as customers who are unable to work due to sickness.
It can be activated during the 12 months from the date of the finance agreement, allowing customers to forgo up to seven months of payments.
Every new car financed or leased from June 1 until then end of September will come with job loss protection.
Alex Hughes, managing director for FCA Automotive Services UK, added: “We are really pleased to support our brand partners in launching this exciting new initiative.
“We are always keen to find innovative ways to address consumer needs, and we believe that this is the right customer offer at exactly the right time.”
All new retail Alfa Romeo models also receive a five-year warranty and five years roadside assistance, valid for a total of five years from the date of first registration or until the vehicle has travelled 75,000 miles
More information on the Alfa Romeo range www.alfaromeo.co.uk
Terms and conditions for retail customers – https://www.fcaautomotiveservices.co.uk/paymentwaiver
Terms and conditions for contract hire customers – http://www.leasys.com/uk/english/paymentwaiver