October 19, 2011

∴ More @Hyundai Fun

I’ve previously written about my problematic new Hyundai Sonata. Here's an update.

I periodically post mildly annoying Tweets to the @Hyundai user on Twitter, usually in response to a gushing marketing Tweet from them.

This evening I received a direct message reply from them.

Mr Richardson we’d like to help. Call us at 714.965.3165 or send us an e-mail (HyundaiDigital@hmausa.com) and we’ll do all we can to assist.

I took them up on their offer and mailed them the following.

I was directed to contact you via your corporate Twitter account, @Hyundai. I’ve had an ongoing problem with my two-month old 2012 Sonata since picking it up from the dealer, new. This problem is only one of three issues I’ve encountered with the car, all within the first month of ownership. You can read about my experience on my weblog at

Bazinga Journal: @Hynudai, Challenged

In a nutshell, as a first-time Hyundai customer I’m very disappointed in both the initial quality of my Sonata and the service rendered by your dealer at Brown’s Leesburg Hyundai in Leesburg, Virginia.

The car was delivered to me with a mis-aligned front end. It strongly pulled to the right. After being asked several times whether I had hit a curb they agreed to align it, free. I don’t understand why a “no” from me the first time required additional questioning. The car should have arrived from the assembly plant properly aligned. Grilling the customer just pisses him off.

The sunroof developed a loud creaking sound when the chassis flexed through a turn. The technician replicated the problem. The car ended up in a body shop. A two-month old $26,000 vehicle should not require that kind of service. And since the body shop doesn’t have a Hyundai sign out front, I’m concerned about both the quality of the service and its implications for my warranty coverage.

The service department advisor was planning to return the vehicle to me with a safety-threatening problem unrepaired. The cruise control periodically would not disengage despite repeatedly pressing the cancel button. The technician didn’t see the problem during his short test drive, so they wouldn’t test the control module for defects. It was only after I told the service advisor that I was leaving with his loaner and wasn’t coming back, and that they could keep my Sonata for a month if that’s what it took to replicate the cruise control problem, that he and his manager decided to turn over the problem to a “field engineer.”

I dropped off the car September 29. I told them to keep the Sonata on October 4. I heard from the dealer on October 7, when I was informed that the technician had punched a hole in my rear seat leather, and as a result I’d be getting a new seat.

That was a week and a half ago. I don’t know how busy the “field engineer” is, whether or not he or she has looked at my car, or if it will be repaired this week or next, if at all. By the end of next week it will be just about a month since I dropped off the car.

Initial quality problems are one thing, but handing back a car to a customer with a safety problem is just foolish. Your service department has established a paper trail on this problem. What if I get into an accident with it after taking it back?

I was enthusiastic about my new car when I took delivery, but this experience has frankly soured me on your company’s products. My wife’s car is up for replacement next and she’s already looking elsewhere.

I’ve publicly written about my Sonata’s problems, and I’ll be posting this and any replies to my weblog as well. I hope we can get my car fixed, soon. At this point I’d be glad to take my money back and call it even.

We’ll see how this plays out. At this point I’m pessimistic about the outcome. I suspect they’ll shrug, tell me they couldn’t replicate the problem, and hand me the key.

I’ll follow up here in any event.