Actually, I've had just the opposite experience. I've found that cars
with little problems tend to not have big problems and vice versa.
I think design has more to do with long-term durability and assembly
more to do with initial quality perception.
Interestingly I was just watching part of a story on the Hyundai plant
in the US on the History channel. Two things came through loud and
Increasing quality on parts allowed increasing automation that
provided lower cost to fund increasing quality on parts to fund more
automation etc. Only use people where machines can't do the work. Its
a nice circle compared to a lot of cost acutting I've seen.
Second - focus on the major problems. As they put it - small things
annoy people but they can ignore them until they can get them fixed as
long as when they put the key in the car starts and goes somewhere.
That seems to be my experience and what I keep seeing here. Ford an
Chevy are worrying about transmissions or engines, Hyundai owners
complain about thumps in the trunk. I'll take the thump.
My experience has been much the opposite. I've found American designed
and assembled cars to be well designed, but often not well assembled.
I've found my Sonata to be well assembled, but not as well designed in
several areas. Personally, I'd like a well designed AND well assembled
car, as I think we all would. However, if I have to give on one, I'd
rather give on assembly quality before giving on design quality. Either
the dealer can correct the assembly issues or I can often correct them
myself. It is almost impossible to correct a design problem in the field.
You can have it, and take mine while you're at it. :)
No, I agree. I saw the film too. I'm impressed with the robotics, but even
more impressed with the people. One guy was really impressive, and I
thought he was a manager of some kind. The subtitle stated he was a "Team
Member", meaning a regular hourly worker. I like the way they all seem to be
focused on cars, not seeing who can screw the other.
Hey Matt, here is a link to The History Channel's film. It has 90% of the
Sonata plant footage. I viewed it 3-4 times, and noticed different little
things each time. Better hurry, I'm guessing they'll be taking it down soon.
Thanks, Bob, I just watched it. Pretty cool!!
Looks like the end got chopped off some, but maybe I'll catch a re-run
on the History channel and have my mother tape it. I live in the
boonies and only get 3 channels on the rabbit ears! :-)
Not to worry, they have a lot of reruns. It's been on 3 or 4 times in the
last week at various times of the day. It will probably be run a dozen more
times this year.
I never knew that Henry Ford copied slaughter house techniques of the day.
He simply reversed the "disassembly" lines they used in the big meat plants.
My mother uses something like Zap2It (I'm sure that isn't right, but it
is something like that) to look up schedules for the History channel and
said this show had run twice recently, but doesn't show up again in the
future for at least the next month, so I may have to wait a while.
Yes, was it Solomon who made some little comment about nothing new under
the sun. :-)
One thing to notice is that this report is on "initial quality" and not "long
term quality". Don't get me wrong, I think Hyundai is making excellent cars and
are a lot more reliable than any domestic cars, but they are not in the same
league as Japanese or German manufactures.
I've had some minor problems with problems on my sister's 99 Elantra (90k miles
) which just shouldn't happen at the time they occurred (spark plug wires at
50k, O2 sensor at 45k, fuel pump connectors needed to be cleaned at 60k). Also
the paint they use doesn't seem to hold up. There are dull marks on sections of
the car and that's with 2 coats of wax per year. My 95 Integra looks almost like
new even today.
I have been driving a Sonata GLS V6 since December 2005 and am very
satisfied with the initial quality of the vehicle. I am one of the customer
that filled J.D. Power's surveys and sent it in. I don't know about bribery
and all, but I sent in top initial quality rating based on my own
I truly felt (and still feel) that I got a much better car (feature-wise)
for much lower price compared to Camry or Accord. I am yet to find any
significant problem or annoyance.
I ride in my friend's new Camry to work (in the passenger seat). It is 2006
model bought in 2005. I don't see any difference between Sonata and Camry. I
know for a fact that long-term quality of Camry is great because I used to
own a Camry. Time will tell how Sonata will perform long-term.
Before November 2006, we didn't even consider Hyundai. We are currently
contemplating replacing our 1999 Sienna with a Hyundai or Kia.
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