November 2, 2011

∴ @Hyundai Gets in Touch

My phone rang this morning with a call from Steve, the regional zone manager for Hyundai North America. He told me that the CEO of Hyundai North America actually reads the Hyundai Twitter stream and took note of my Sonata's ongoing problems. I guess he takes social media seriously, which is smart, because his customers certainly do.

If I had any doubts about Hyundai's concern over my car's problems as represented by my local dealer, Brown's Leesburg Hyundai, they were addressed by Steve. Importantly (to me), he began the conversation with an apology. I got the attention I expected about a safety-critical problem, and a full accounting of what's going on with my car.

Right now there is a Hyundai field engineer driving it around the Leesburg area with a telemetry unit attached to the diagnostic connector, attempting to reproduce the cruise control problem. That problem was successfully reproduced by Chris, the general manager at Brown's, this past weekend. It's always a good sign when a company representative can see the problem first-hand.

Steve mentioned the Virginia consumer protection law ("lemon law"). It's particularly consumer friendly: a car that has been out of service for thirty days or more in a year can qualify as a lemon, and a replacement or refund ordered by the state. He asked what I had in mind.

I want my car back, repaired. I want the cruise control to operate flawlessly for the next six or seven years, until I trade it in, and I don't ever want to hear the roof creak again. If the problems crop up again I want a new car. And Steve was ok with all of that.

He also offered, and I took him up on, a complementary bumper-to-bumper 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty extension of the factory coverage.

It remains to be seen whether Hyundai's engineer is able to reproduce the cruise control problem, but a new set of control modules have been ordered, regardless. The engineer claims to be familiar with the sunroof problem and that a simple set of adjustments will eliminate the problem. I'm still doubtful on that one.

So we'll see. I'm still in the loaner, thirty-four days later, but today I have the satisfaction of knowing that the company I paid good money does, in fact, have an interest in my satisfaction.

I liked my Sonata quite a lot when I bought it. I hope to feel as good about it again, soon.