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Hyundai has officially become the first automaker to jump into the Groupon party by offering customers a $29 oil change, inspection and tire rotation. The manufacturer says around 1,300 individuals participated in the event across 10 dealers in the greater Chicago area and that the move was part of an ongoing effort to increase service business. The hope is that some of those customers who participated in the deal might come back for more vehicle work in the near future.

So, the next logical question: Will Hyundai look into actually selling vehicles through the coupon company? That all depends on how well this particular venture goes. If the automaker sees a strong return rate among customers, it just might look into future partnerships. That said, an entire vehicle purchase seems pretty far-fetched...

Groupon is a Chicago-based company that allows users to buy into one large group coupon per day. Once a deal is announced, a certain number of people must sign up for the offer or it expires and no one benefits. The company serves over 500 markets by offering deals on everything from services to smoothies and everything in between.

All told, Hyundai says that each of its participating dealers developed 130 new service leads each. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Source: Hyundai | Image: Drew Phillips/AOL]
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HYUNDAI TAPS POWER OF GROUPON FOR SERVICE LEADS

First-ever Groupon Promotion for an Automaker Nets More Than 1,300 Customers in Chicago Trial

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., April 19, 2011 – Continuing to explore new and innovative ways to connect drivers and dealerships, 1,323 shoppers took advantage of Hyundai's weekend-long Groupon promotion for a $29 oil change, inspection and tire rotation offered by 10 Chicago-area Hyundai dealers. Chicago-based Groupon uses collective buying power to develop daily deals on a wide range of consumer items in more than 500 markets around the world. This was the first-ever promotion by an automaker.

"We're always looking for innovative ways to build dealers' service business. Our Central Region team and a number of Chicago dealers recognized the power of Groupon to offer a compelling deal and generate new service leads," said Brian O'Malley, general manager of Hyundai Motor America's Central Region. "Based on initial response, we can clearly call the pilot program a success in driving traffic. If the long-term results are as encouraging as the initial data and dealers are supportive, we'll certainly look at other ways to use Groupon in the future."

The first-of-its-kind promotion by an automaker was piloted to test the level of acceptance, gauge interest from both Hyundai owners and non-Hyundai owners, and drive ongoing business to Hyundai service centers. The 10 dealerships participating in the trial averaged more than 130 new service customer leads each. As coupons are redeemed and appointments scheduled, Hyundai will track these customers to determine the promotion's long-term benefit and share the results with Hyundai dealer organizations as a case study on innovative tactics to build business.