Can’t make the payments on that new car you just bought? No problem — just return it free of charge.

At least that’s the deal being offered in the United States by Hyundai Motor America.

In a bid to woo skittish consumers, the South Korea-based automaker will cover the depreciation on a returned leased or financed vehicle for those who find themselves unable to make their car payments.

Deadbeats need not apply, however. The “Hyundai Assurance Program” only applies to customers stricken by misfortune outside of their control, such as losing their job, becoming disabled or losing their drivers licence for medical reasons.

Customers must also have made at least two payments on the car already.

In addition, Hyundai will only refund the depreciation on the returned car up to $7,500 US and the program is complementary for the first 12 months of leasing or financing.

Hyundai, which launched the program last week, said the program is aimed at consumers too nervous to spring for a new car in the difficult economy.

“Today we’re extending ... peace of mind to cover consumers’ employment status and personal finances,” said John Krafcik, acting president and chief executive of Hyundai North America, in a prepared statement.

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