Hyundai Chief Says Lots of Ideas Come From Dealers

TRAVERSE CITY, MI Hyunda Motor America's chief says the firm gets lots of ideas from its dealers, including a new valet program for owners of the upscale Genesis and impending top-line Equus cars, due out this year. We like to innovate, because polls show that our extended warranties and appealing new products raise us on customer new-car shopping lists, says John Krafcik, president and CEO. Plus,

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Hyunda Motor America's chief says the firm gets “lots of ideas” from its dealers, including a new valet program for owners of the upscale Genesis and impending top-line Equus cars, due out this year.

“We like to innovate, because polls show that our extended warranties and appealing new products raise us on customer new-car shopping lists, says John Krafcik, president and CEO. “Plus, we're now serious contenders all across the board in every segment.”

Hyundai observes its 25th year in the U.S. next year, “just as we're on the road to achieving the 5% market share target,” he says here at an auto industry event called annual Management Briefing Seminars.

For prospective buyers who want to check out the Equus but skip a trip to the dealership, participating dealers will bring the car to them.

The valet treatment will extend to service-department customers, too. The dealership would pick up their car and drop off a loaner Equus or Genesis.

Hyundai in the early years had quality issues with its products, but the company addressed that by offering best-in-industry warranties.

“We are determined to show consumers that we have eliminated nearly all quality concerns they may have had about us,” Krafcik says, referring to a 100,000-mile 10-year powertrain warranty and others.

Asked why competitors have not matched extended-warranty programs, Krafcik did not get rebuttals from fellow auto executives on his panel, including BMW North America's Jim O'Donnell and Ford Motor Co.'s Mark Fields, when he exclaimed, “Because it's too expensive.”

“Other things we're addressing are the facts that buyers don't like to visit showrooms and have no use for 1,000-page owner's manuals,” Krafcik says. “We're looking at providing vehicle demonstrations merely by calling a toll-free 800 number.”

As for the long-awaited Equus fullsize sedan, it will arrive in the U.S. later this year and join a “surprise new car” (reportedly a Tiburon sports coupe successor) at the Los Angeles auto show in November.

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