By Andrew Ganz
Tuesday, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 11:40 am
 
Hyundai, taking a page from last year's marginally successful $2.99 gas price "guarantee" offered by Chrysler, will begin offering a $1.49 per gallon price lock as an incentive to help move inventory during July and August. The program works a little differently than Chrysler's prepaid gas card program by giving buyers a separate Hyundai-branded card that will bill them at $1.49 a gallon for 12,000 miles worth of gas, regardless of the price at the pump.

"Our research shows that nearly 40 percent of potential new car buyers are staying out of the market specifically due to uncertainty around future gas prices," said John Krafcik, CEO and president of Hyundai Motor America in a prepared statement released by the automaker.

Hyundai calculates the amount number of gallons its cars would use over the period of one year based on the EPA combined fuel economy figure and then allows customers to buy up to that many gallons of gas at $1.49. Hyundai will pay for the charges exceeding $1.49 per gallon.

The program will be offered on most of Hyundai's models, including the Tiburon, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Entourage, Sonata, Azera, Santa Fe, Tucson and Veracruz, as well as all but base versions of its Accent.

The offer supplements Hyundai's Assurance Program, which allows buyers to walk away from recently-purchased Hyundais if an "adverse" life event occurs.