Hyundai – Setting The Quality Benchmark
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 09/05/2007 In 2000, when Hyundai announced major reforms aimed at significantly boosting the quality of its vehicles, the company’s goal was to become one of the world’s highest quality automakers. To achieve this, a worldwide quality initiative was launched, focusing on three key areas of quality leadership: intelligent ergonomic engineering, obsessive customer focus and acceptance of the need for continuous change. It is the embodiment of this quality initiative that has fueled Hyundai’s significant improvements in vehicle quality over the past several years, as well as its tremendous sales growth worldwide.
Hyundai’s strategic focus on quality, backed by more than 900 Hyundai quality-dedicated engineers, is now integrated throughout all phases of vehicle development – research, design, engineering, production, distribution, customer delivery and beyond. This quality leadership initiative is spearheaded by Hyundai Motor Company’s Quality Department in Korea, with coordination and continual cross-functional interaction with its many other established quality teams throughout the world.
Quality and the North American Market
For vehicles destined for the North American market, implementation of Hyundai’s quality initiative has meant significant input from and involvement by dedicated quality experts at Hyundai Motor America (HMA); Hyundai North American Quality Center (NAQC) in Chino, California; Hyundai Automotive Technical Center (HATCI) in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of America (HMMA) in Montgomery, Alabama. Working together, these entities have established a system of quality procedures to assure all Hyundai vehicles meet the highest standards that American consumers have come to expect – and demand – when purchasing a new vehicle.
During the design phase, HMA, HATCI, NAQC and HMMA meet regularly with Hyundai’s Quality and Research and Development Departments in Korea to review what is termed “the voice of the consumer” – extensive research, market analysis and feedback data from vehicle owners and prospective buyers. These cross-functional information sharing and intensive problem solving sessions continue throughout the engineering, development and production stages, so potential problems or situations that might impact vehicle quality can be immediately identified and addressed. Sometimes these sessions uncover potential problems that require unexpected changes or part modifications. These “on the fly” changes, though not purposely planned at the outset of the design and engineering phase, are now embraced as a necessary step of a much more dynamic and flexible development process that expects – and immediately addresses – necessary changes to assure quality is never compromised.
Once early Hyundai prototype vehicles are produced, they are rigorously tested and evaluated for quality in a number of areas, including exterior and interior fit and finish; performance under varying conditions; joint welding; paint quality; noise, vibration and harshness; electrical connections, among other items. Hyundai’s testing facilities in Namyang, for example, include three wind testing tunnels, allowing simulation of wind speeds of 125 mph and re-creation of rain, sleet and snow, to test inclement weather effects on vehicles. Quality test teams at HMA, HATCI and NAQC put extensive miles on vehicles, run additional evaluations on Hyundai’s test track in Fontana, California, and conduct hot and cold weather tests in the Mojave Desert and International Falls Minnesota, locations known for their extreme temperatures. Test results and accompanying data are then relayed to Hyundai Motor Company’s Quality Department, so that any needed vehicle modifications and changes can be immediately addressed.
Testing doesn’t end, however, with prototype vehicles. Once production begins, the cross-functional, data-driven feedback loop and interaction continues, as quality teams review and incorporate additional changes and other improvements based on feedback from U.S.-based marketing focus groups, media preview tests, early consumer reactions and other data.
Quality assurance is also incorporated throughout the vehicle delivery process. For vehicles produced in Korea, quality audits are initiated on the assembly line and continued at the Port in Ulsan and through the ports of entry into the U.S. In Alabama, all vehicles off the assembly line receive an immediate inspection by HMMA’s Quality Assurance Department, as well as a test track evaluation. Another quality inspection is also conducted by Hyundai’s Alabama shipping processors. Once vehicles are in transit to dealerships via truck or rail, dealers have been trained to initiate another 51-point inspection on vehicles received, assuring that no quality issues have occurred during vehicle transit. After customers purchase a Hyundai vehicle, Hyundai Motor America representatives contact them within several days to inquire about their dealership experience, as well as to discuss any problems or quality issues they may have with their vehicle. Again, this information is looped back to all Hyundai entities involved in the quality assurance process for immediate review and evaluation.
Hyundai Quality – Backed by America’s Best Warranty
Given this rigorous and complete quality program means that Hyundai can confidently back the quality and craftsmanship of every vehicle in its lineup the Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. Provided on every new vehicle since the 1999 model year and currently covering more than 2.75 million vehicles nationwide, The Hyundai Advantage – an industry first when introduced – is now further complimented by another industry first, the new Hyundai Certified Pre-Owned Limited Warranty. Introduced in May 2007, the pre-owned program boasts a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty on used vehicles dating back five model years that have less than 60,000 miles.
Hyundai Motor America
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 750 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.