Soundbite: Take Heed Hyundai


They say that no one builds bad cars anymore in this business, at least when it comes to the established automakers, and for the most part that’s basically true.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad product strategies especially when egos are involved. We’re hearing of late that Hyundai is never going to make a mistake that will derail its momentum. Uh, that’s a roster of stuff worth contemplating.

First Hyundai, like I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. No car company stays as hot as Hyundai has been indefinitely. Many car companies before Hyundai have had it all figured out – or so they thought – only to run straight into a whirlpool of shit of their own making, followed by a reward in the market place that resonated for years afterward. Toyota is just the most recent example of that. Yes, of course Toyota will be back, but we’ll see to what extent.

But when I read where Hyundai’s U.S. sales boss, Dave Zuchowski, told Automotive News that the Korean automaker won’t risk quality lapses by increasing capacity too quickly in order to increase its sales 10 percent every year over the next three years, I figured the Hyundai train could be derailed at any moment. “We’ve made a conscious decision as a company not to compromise on quality in order to build more,” he told Automotive News. “Not everybody has made that decision, and it’s not always worked out very well for them.”

Really? And how is Hyundai going to be different from the “others” in this business who have failed before? I can answer that one, too, because Hyundai is no different. They’re on an incredible roll and they have two exceptional products in the market in the Sonata and the Elantra, but they’re not immune to what has befallen more accomplished automakers in the past, by any means. And Zuchowski’s statement has confirmed our sighting of a burgeoning arrogance that is bound to rear its head more and more as the months go by.

But Hyundai’s creeping public arrogance has a more threatening hint to it, as in; they’re actually starting to believe that they cannot fail and that they won’t make mistakes. Well, I’ve got news for them: They will, on both counts.

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