Shape up or ship out seems to be the message that Hyundai is sending to 50 of its worst performing dealers. Automotive News is reporting that Hyundai Motor America COO Steve Wilhite sent a "strongly worded" letter to 50 'chronic underachievers.' Poor sales and customer service is at the heart of Wilhite's threats: "We're giving them six months to correct the mistakes. If they can, we're thrilled to have them. If they can't, we want them to turn in their franchises."
As Hyundai is moving towards a reputation that nearly equals that of the Japanese automakers, it is important that its dealer network match the company's commitment to delivering top-notch vehicles. Wilhite hopes the dealers will improve and stay on board, but if they don't, they will be forced out. Sort of. The dealers can still take their cases to the motor vehicle board in their state or even appeal to out-of-state courts before losing their franchise rights. Another 144 problem areas were identified by Wilhite as areas of concern, but no similar threats to drop these dealers were issued.

With products like the new Genesis and Veracruz showing Hyundai's desire to move upmarket, this is an important issue to iron out over the next couple of years. Good product will get people into the dealership, but good customer service will sell the marque and guarantee repeat customers and higher resale values.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]


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