By on November 12, 2013

aje-new-oct-28

After consumer complaints over quality issues in its home market of Korea and a string of recalls there, in the U.S. and other countries. Hyundai Motor Group’s president for research and development, Kwon Moon-sik and two other executives in charge of engineering and electronics have resigned. The shakeup comes as the automaker prepares some important new vehicle launches.

The Hyundai group’s chairman, Chung Mong-koo, son of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung, has a reputation for firing (and rehiring) executives and he is also known for stressing quality. Chung is seen as responsible for changing the reputation of Hyundai from being seen as a maker of cheap, poorly made automobiles.

“The latest personnel change shows our firm commitment to quality management and reaffirms our will to continuously improve R&D competitiveness,” Hyundai said in a statement. The executives resigned to “take responsibility for a series of quality issues.” Replacements have not been named.

Last week Hyundai expanded its U.S. recall of the Genesis sedan to fix a potential problem with the brakes. So far almost 150,000 Genesis cars in the U.S. and Korea have been recalled. The recall notice comes as Hyundai is getting ready to launch the next generation Genesis in Korea later this month.

In April, Hyundai and Kia recalled more than 1.8 million vehicles in the United States because of a faulty brake switch, followed by a similar recall in South Korea, the largest in at least a decade there. Korean consumer have also complained of water leaks in Santa Fe SUVs and Elantra compatc sedans.

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30 Comments on “Hyundai’s R&D, Product President, Engineering and Electronics Chiefs Resign Over Quality Issues...”


  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    These Hyundais don’t have ISSUES.

    They have PROBLEMS.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    This is what needs to happen more often. If this were GM, the penalty for failure would be promotion.

  • avatar
    areader

    Let’s see if this is just for show and if these guys are soon ‘rehabilitated’.

    “The Hyundai group’s chairman, Chung Mong-koo, son of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung, has a reputation for firing (and rehiring) executives and he is also known for stressing quality.”

    From Wikipedia:

    ” In 2006, he and his family were targeted by the Seoul Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office as part of an investigation into embezzling 100 billion won ($106 million USD) from Hyundai to create slush funds.[2] Despite a travel ban, Chung left South Korea in April 2006. Chung was arrested on 28 April 2006 on charges related to embezzlement and other corruption[3][4] He was convicted of embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty on 5 February 2007 and sentenced to three years in prison.[5] Chung remained free on bail while he appealed the sentence.[6] On September 6, 2007, Chief judge Lee Jae-Hong ruled to suspend the sentence of Chung Mong-koo (in consideration of the huge economic impact of imprisonment), ordering instead of a 3-year jail term, the performance of community service and a $1 billion donation to charity.[7] However on August 15, 2006, on the occasion of Korea’s 63rd Independence Day, the ministry of Justice granted a special pardon to eliminate all charges and sentences in order Mr. Chung to continue to contribute to the development of Hyundai Motor Group as well as Korean national economy.”

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Your story relates to criminal charges filed by the government against the chairman; TTAC’s story is about the company terminating the employment of 3 executives. Apples and oranges.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Lucky for him, there is no Hara Kiri in Korea. Is Hyundai just copying Ford?

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Ahhhhh, but there were such high hopes for Hyundai. I was even motivated to help buy a 2011 Elantra for my grand daughter. Things change!

    The problems or issues with Hyundai vehicles aren’t just in South Korea. Recent problems with US-built Hyundai vehicles also reflect that the QC and QA people formerly in the US have gone home to South Korea.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I would’ve been happy to see Hyundai/Kia demonstrate the ability to design, fabricate & incorporate competitive suspensions in their vehicles.

      They made great progress elsewhere in the last decade, but the ride quality (or lack thereof) in even their pricier offerings, even today, has always stood out as a bizarre anomaly.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Mk3

        I believe that’s a symptom of over reliance on simulation testing to keep development costs down. They appear to acknowledge the deficiency with recent investments in proper road testing facilities. Nothing seems inherently wrong with the designs or components, but the way they’re setup is straight up bizarre at times. At least it made for amusing handling traits in the old Accent with its wacky soft low travel setup. A quick feint would slam it into its bump stops and send it predictably sideways at damn near any speed.

        The Koreans are on the right track, but could face major setbacks if they go down the techno-options rabbit hole that’s like a quality cancer in modern cars (looking at you Ford). More attention needs to be paid to the essential components from rather inconsistent suppliers before worrying about unnecessary “cutting edge” options.
        They need to keep addressing their dynamic shortcomings while providing competitive offerings at lower prices without succumbing to option bloat.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          As much as I criticize Ford, the one thing I can’t fault them for is the competency of their suspensions & chassis’. The Fusion & Focus both have either best-in-class or nearly so chassis/suspensions, IMO, even of their ecoboost motors and DCG transmissions are not competent nor reliable.

          If it weren’t for those shortcomings, since reliability is a major issue for me, I’d prefer a Fusion or Focus versus a Camry or Corolla.

          But Hyundai is in some weird territory when it comes to ride quality,’at least with respect to many of their models’that I’ve driven.

          The Azera is the only modern vehicle where I’ve experienced LATERAL movement at highway speeds on smooth but undulating pavement.

          The Genesis Sedan has the harshest, but even more significantly, schizophrenic ride quality attributes I’ve experienced in any car north of 20k – it’s literally as if the front and rear suspension were each designed for different types of vehicles, and the result is a very disconcerting ride quality on even mildly broken pavement.

          The new Tucson has the harshest ride quality of any small SUV I’ve ever driven by a wide margin.

          The only Hyundai vehicle that I’ve driven that seems to have a competent suspension is the Slants, but even in this case, many owners complain that the suspension gets noisy with time & miles, AMD the ride quality degrades also.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I thought that the Sonata ride quality was overly sensitive to my steering input, in the rentals that I had. Harshness can also be a result of tire compound.

            So when we bought that 2011 Elantra for my grand daughter I expected overly sensitive steering as well. And I got it.

            In a short wheel base car like the Elantra that could cause a little bit of lateral wandering at speed. Especially at higher speeds over 65mph.

            I thought that the front end could use a good wheel alignment and took it to a friend of mine who has a shop that does wheel alignments, among other things.

            He reset caster&camber to where the front wheels are vertical at 0.0 but slightly point inwards at -1 toward the center of the car.

            This kept the car from being overly sensitive to steering input and wandering off the straight and narrow. When accelerating, the front wheels tend to pull outward, away from the vehicle center because of the torque.

            This alignment setting does cause a little bit more wear on the outside edge of each tire but the original Kumhos were cheap and tire rotation at 5K compensated somewhat.

            At ~24K I had Discount tire put Pirellis on it all around and that cured a whole lot of skittishness in the front end.

          • 0 avatar
            Mr Mk3

            Poor Ford, the undisputed king of “almost there” automobiles. Whenever they get backed into a corner they try their damnedest with some solid ideas, but the result is never quite all there (as opposed to Lutz-era GM’s “make it look like the concept above all else” priority). Sadly it’s always the same mistake, trying to run before walking when reinventing the brand.

            Early Ghosn-era Nissans are a good analog for the current Korean offerings. Everything looks right on paper, but the lack of experience and development is apparent in the way they drive. They even manage to have the same issues with holding alignment and tire wear. Go drive an early 350Z/Genesis coupe or an early 00′s Altima/Sonata back to back and you’d swear they were designed by the same people with the same shortcomings.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ……The problems or issues with Hyundai vehicles aren’t just in South Korea. Recent problems with US-built Hyundai vehicles also reflect that the QC and QA people formerly in the US have gone home to South Korea…..

      or one might say ” the QC and QA people formerly in Korea had gone to America to help build Hyundais”…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        One might say that. And for a little while at least, they were successful.

        I’ve heard a few complaints about the four cyl engine in late model Sonatas ‘booming’ during acceleration and at certain highway speeds, like a harmonic.

        And tires. Hyundai OEM tires do not hold up well. One lady drives her Sonata to her job at White Sands Missile Range, about a 100 mile roundtrip from her home each day, and managed to wear out her OEM tires at around 20K.

        Although we have been very happy with the 2011 Elantra we bought for our grand daughter, I don’t think another Hyundai will be in the cards for when she graduates in May 2014.

        Her Elantra is beginning to show some serious wear and I was forced to have my friend at the alignment shop put in new struts all around at ~60K.

        It does get a lot of use, but only 60K out of the front struts? All the car transports are four chubby young ladies to college and back. No abuse there. High cruising speed, yes! Abuse, no.

  • avatar
    areader

    “Your story relates to criminal charges filed by the government against the chairman; TTAC’s story is about the company terminating the employment of 3 executives. Apples and oranges.”

    No. Apples and apples. My point was to the lack of integrity of the company’s top management. Assuming the accuracy of their rehiring of fired employees, it seems these firings might be for show. If you want to spend YOUR money on their products, have at it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Looks like I need to check our Sonata’s VIN for recalls…lol

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      While I remain a H/K fan, my son bought a CPO ’11 Sonata in August that needed 4 recall campaigns performed on it. Three of them were safety-related. The dealer (not the one we bought it from) turned the car around in a day with no hassle whatsoever.

      And my 09 Sedona recently needed an out-of-warranty replacement of its throttle body and accompanying ECU reflash (the technical service bulletin only covered the repair under warranty); this cost me $800 at a local auto electric shop.

      While these vehicles provide great service and are generally very reliable, my feelings about the mfrs stem directly from how the issues are handled by the dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The only Hyundai dealer that’s close to my house at all is quite horrible. In the six or seven times that we have interacted with them (including the time in which we bought a lightly-used Sonata in 2009 and wound up returning it because some of the paperwork had been fudged) made us wish we hadn’t. But apparently Hyundai will pay for warranty work done at a Kia dealership if that dealership has the parts, so that’s what I’ll do next time.

        We got the 2012 Sonata recently and I don’t know that the previous owner had any of the recalls performed, so I’m looking into it today…

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Folks I think it all goes back to the suppliers, I just had ball bearings and CV axles installed 3 mos ago, new from the box, made in China, the bearings failed and had to be replaced with US made one and the CV joint is now clacking and clicking when I turn the wheel a certain way

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      As far as bearings failing, maybe they weren’t ‘packed’ right. If they were sealed bearings, maybe they weren’t packed right at the factory.

      I had Romanian-made Delco front-axle bearings that I packed under pressure before installation, just to be on the safe side, but they still failed.

      The NAPA store blamed the failure on me not tightening the front hubs properly. The second set also failed.

      But when I bought no-name bearings from Motor Supply that were made in the Chech Republic, I had no problems and I still see that antique on the road today, driven by the people I sold it to years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m bullish on the Czech Republic. The level of work ethos, skilled craftsmanship & pride in what is produced their easily rivals anything I’ve seen from anyplace else, including besting a lot of what comes out of the much-lauded Deutschland.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Years ago, I bought a new AK-47 that was made in the Czech Republic, and it was much, much better than the Chinese-made one I brought back from Viet Nam in 1967, and better than the USSR-made ones I saw at gun shows. The stampings were solid, the block cleanly machined, highly polished and the wood stock was H&H grade stained hardwood.

          It was a keeper. The others were not.

          Goes to show that there still are places where quality matters.

        • 0 avatar
          schmitt trigger

          +1
          Just look at the Tatra multiaxle trucks!!
          The most robust all terrain vehicle anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      You’re not the only one who has had issues with poor-quality replacement bearings and axles! I’m very concerned about this issue. No repair shops today will even do axle repairs (replace or repair a CV Boot or joint) because the can buy Chinese-made axle assemblies for $47 each.

      I have Japanese and German cars from the 1990s in my daily-driver fleet, and I’m going to keep the superior-quality OEM axles alive for as long as I can, even it it means pulling an axle to replace the boot. I don’t trust the quality of the replacement parts in most cases, and I don’t have the ability to determine if a part is ‘good’ or not.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Even during the Soviet block years, Czech made stuff was better than from any other iron curtain country, incl East Germany and I guess it continues to this day, I don’t see Russian cars being desirable anywhere. As far as parts are concerned, I was also told I’d be better off with new China parts than rebuilt ones, but the tech was wrong and now I have to pay the consequences.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Redmondjp, find another shop. I did not want my CV joints on my Probe replaced with imported Chinese crap. I had the outer boots replaced. Did not save any money, but I have factory parts still in there.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Golden– a lot of CV and bearing problems after a repair is caused by poor technique.
    In my Probe GT,many Mazdas and Subarus, I would take a ball joint loose or the 2 bolts holding the strut to the spindle, remove the INNER joint clamp and ring and swing the assembly to the side. Then it was just removing the inner joint center and sliding the broken boot off the axle. Reassembly was the reverse of the teardown.
    NO hammering, NO over or under-torquing an axle nut, NO “blunt force trauma” applied the the axle bearing. And the job was far quicker to do this way.

  • avatar
    Commando

    Can you see someome in top management at GM resigning because of quality issues???
    As hard as I try, I just can’t…


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