Saturday, September 4, 2010

A bit of bad news over at Hyundai

Hyundai and its sister car corp Kia had been enjoying sales increasing by leaps and bounds, but things may have cooled down a bit, with Hyundai reporting sales drops of 11 percent, over last year, when the "Cash for Clunkers" program helped sales quite a bit. In the same period, Kia dropped 19 percent.

Hyundai and Kia were not alone: Toyota, Honda, and Nissan reported even bigger drops.

Meanwhile, the Feds are looking into reports of steering problems in the flagship Sonata:
Federal safety regulators have opened an investigation into reports of steering problems in the hot-selling 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedan.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into whether the vehicles can sustain a separation in the steering shaft assembly that results in a loss of steering capability. Regulators are also examining whether a bolt in the steering system can become loose.

The vehicles involved in the probe were manufactured during the same month at the Hyundai factory in Alabama and had fewer than 600 miles at the time of the alleged incidents, regulators said.

About 16,000 Sonatas might be involved. Hyundai builds the new-generation Sonata and its Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle at the plant.
One wonders how rumors of a recall might effect sales of the Sonata, which is so "hot" that their Alabama plant has booted production of the Santa Fe over to the Kia plant in Georgia so they can produce more Sonatas. (Kia is having its own recall of the Georgia-made Soul and Sorrento over wiring issues.)

Let's just say that recalls can't help, and Hyundai America's chief is already not optimistic about the second half of the year (among other problems, the midterm elections will suck up advertising space and raise revenues while also putting the public in a bad mood).

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2 comments:

  1. If this is as bad as it gets, then it will just be a bump in the road.

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  2. I think you're right. There have been no small number of recalls from automakers in other countries as well, so it's not like this will stand out in any way.

    Besides, I think enough people realize that Toyota's error was in never doing recalls, such that a company that never has any problems can't be trusted.

    At any rate, another point to be gleaned from this is that the vehicles in question are from the US plants, not the Korean ones, so it wouldn't necessarily affect improving impressions of Korean manufacturing quality.

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