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Kia answers your questions

2007-09-17 10:14
Kia Motors South Africa would like to thank Wheels 24 and the readers for this opportunity to comment on the pertinent and candid questions posed.

Internally we have considered these questions very seriously and believe that through this sort of positive dialogue it gives us an opportunity to improve shortfalls and strengths within our business.

We thank all those many customers who have paid us compliments on our product and service. For those who are not completely satisfied we realise we are not perfect and there is always room for improvement, however we will continue to strive to achieve the best service levels within our network.

Several readers, while happy with their cars, have said that the dismal servicing environment at dealers may deter them from buying another Kia again. Do you have any plans in store to deal with these cases of otherwise good products being compromised by problematic aftersales service?

We are encouraged to see that several readers are happy with their cars and we believe that our pioneering, industry-first 10 year/150 000km warranty shows Kia Motors South Africa?s confidence in our vehicles as will make more and more motorists realise that Kia is a low-risk purchase with top-quality products.

As some of our customers do not enjoy the service levels that they are entitled to, it is of huge concern to Kia Motors South Africa. So in this vein we have introduced certain remedies to uplift our service levels.

  • We have ongoing in-house training to introduce technicians into the Kia family; currently we have in excess of 100 technicians undergoing this training. This will filter back down into our organization and improve technical standards generally

  • Just recently we have introduced a Kia Dealer Excellence Programme (KDEP) to uplift and upgrade our dealer facilities. This programme is very comprehensive in dealing with our customers for example; proper policies and procedures are to be introduced and followed via a very strict marking procedure from Kia Motors South Africa (KMSA) to our dealers

  • We also have invested in a dedicated call center and we encourage customers to forward their complaints, recommendations and compliments to 0800 600 931 or email aftersales@kia.co.za in order to improve our service on an ongoing basis.
  • As with anything in life change does take time, some dealers will react faster whilst others might need more prodding. We at Kia Motors South Africa will ensure that within the next twelve months our customers will see and experience a significant improvement in our service levels.

    How many of the parts are sourced from Korea and how long would owners generally have to wait for parts to be delivered. Surely, having to wait several weeks, and in some cases, months, for a part is unacceptable? And why are the costs of your replacement parts so expensive? One reader also pointed out that Kia original parts seem to deteriorate at a quicker rate. Is this a deliberate strategy? Who or what controls these prices and why does Kia not exert greater influence on this?

    All parts are sourced from Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) in Korea. Our local warehouse has 9 500 line items in stock at a current retail value of R30-million rand. We have an 8000sqm parts warehouse located in Johannesburg that services our dealers nationally and sub Sahara Africa.

    The correct procedure when a part is not in stock requires the dealer to order the part from Kia Motors South Africa (KMSA). If a part is not available, the part will be ordered the same day the order was placed from the dealer and it will be air freighted within 10 working days from Korea. Currently our service rate to our dealers on all parts requested is 94 percent which means we supply 94 out of 100 parts, first time. This is among the highest in the industry and referring to the previous NADA survey regarding parts availability, Kia was ranked in first position.

    With regards to parts not being available this would apply to certain trim items which we do not keep in stock. From time to time there will be exceptions, when we are out of critical parts. In this instance we are currently investigating the implementation of a system to ensure that our customers are not stranded. Customers are welcome to contact head office customer care department on 0800 600 931 to verify the status of their parts order.

    Regarding pricing studies done by independent surveys, Kia parts prices are competitively-priced and ranked in the middle of the range of similar rivals. We are not the cheapest but we are certainly not the most expensive, and we only supply genuine, high-quality parts. Kia consistently strives to improve our pricing and part supply to our dealerships.

    We are not aware of our parts deteriorating at a quicker rate ? the fact that we have the confidence to warranty our cars for up to 10 years suggests the opposite. We encourage the reader to please forward their specific complaint to us.

    Once again we encourage customers to forward their complaints, recommendations and compliments to our customer care department 0800 600 931 in order for us to improve on an ongoing basis.

    About your ten-year warranty, are there any plans to extend it across the entire Kia range? And how readily available are parts for cars no longer covered by a warranty?

    Our confidence in the ever-improving quality of products coming from Korea was reflected in the introduction of our industry?s first 10 year/150000km warranty on the face-lift Sorento in October last year and we followed that up on the Carens and Sedona this year. Value has always been at the core of our brand and this includes managing the cost of long-term ownership. The warranty not only gives our buyers the ability to manage their asset but gives them additional brand loyalty and increases their car?s resale value.

    The warranty is transferable from one owner to another as long as the owners have had the vehicle serviced at a Kia dealer for the full term. The warranty is comprehensive; it is a full manufacturer?s warranty, not an aftermarket ?extended warranty?. Of course, like any warranty there are exclusions, normal wear and tear items having a limited warranty.

    As new models are introduced we will continue to extend new warranty parameters to our vehicles where it is viable. The idea is to have all passenger vehicles with a minimum 5 year warranty and all SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) and MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) with a 10 year warranty. In some instances like the introduction of our passenger vehicle the ceed next year the warranty for this particular vehicle might exceed the 5 year warranty. We are still in discussions with our Korean partners.

    After a derivative has been discontinued or production has ceased on a particular model, parts are guaranteed to be available for 15 years or in some instances longer depending on the demand.

    What is the timing on the launch of the new Magentis? Any plans for introducing bigger engines on the Sportage, in particular? Why the limited range of aftermarket accessories for an off-roader such as the Sorento?

    Currently we are busy with a feasibility study for the Magentis; no final decision has been taken whether the Magentis will be introduced to South Africa in the short term. It is not always possible to have all models produced by Kia Motors Corporation in Korea, available in South Africa. Before we introduce a derivative we do extensive feasibility studies.

    At this stage there are no other Sportage engines available for our market. Our current line-up includes the 2.0-litre petrol, 2.0-litre CRDi turbodiesel and 2.7-litre petrol V6 derivatives. The market demands for vehicles are analyzed globally on a consistent basis and soon as a new engine or derivative becomes available, Kia Motor South Africa will do a feasibility study and take it into consideration when to launch into our market.

    We recognize this is a downfall in our Sports Utility segment. In March this year in order to rectify this shortfall, we introduced a new department with a very experienced accessory manager to deal with aftermarket accessories. We currently offer 40 aftermarket accessories for the Sorento, ranging from towbars right through to DVD players and GPS satellite navigation systems. In order to offer customers with their requirements we encourage readers to email their accessory recommendations to Vanessa Lester for consideration.

    Why are your detailed sales figures not reported every month?

    It has been a strategic policy from the outset not to supply our individual sales to NAAMSA due to the nature of our group (Associated Motor Holdings: which include Citroen, Daihatsu, Hyundai, SsangYong, Proton and Tata). It was a prudent decision by not giving our opposition our detailed sales figures.

    However our sales are sent through to NAAMSA on a consolidated basis including all our representative brands within the AMH group.

    We do from time to time advise the motoring media on our individual sales figures which are reported.


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