Wednesday

Are you more loyal to your car brand than your Hyundai-owning neighbor? Data shows they are more loyal than anyone

When Hyundai shipped their cars to the US for the first time, they hoped folks would come to like them. Well, it may have taken a while to get there, but there they are.

New data on sales and service is reported to show that Hyundai owners are more loyal to the Hyundai brand than Honda or Toyota or Ford or Subaru, when they go car shopping. Times have certainly changed.

When the brand first hit US shores they were plagued with what many folks thought bad looks and bad designs and bad reliability. We always thought there were a lot of lemons on that first boatload.

But the company listened and apparently hired new designers intent on making their product "look American." They also pumped up the quality. There's no telling how much of it came from the combining of forces with Kia, who was also striving to increase its quality and sales presence in the US, but both of them have gained substantial sales ground and customer loyalty that industry observers thought was impossible, based on the early model arrivals.

It just goes to show that anyone who pays attention to what the US public wants, and delivers on it, will gain market share. More surprisingly, it all happened at the same time that GM and Chrysler were going down the bankruptcy slide.

Are you paying attention now, Detroit? We hope so.

As long as they make cars, statistically there will always be a bad one somewhere in the bunch. But those bad ones are getting fewer and farther between when it comes to Hyundai, frankly.

It doesn't hurt that they give a ten year warranty too - although Hyundai owners still need to be careful about that warranty. It has a "surprise" hidden inside its terms. They have a little clause that says you can't sue them in court if you end up with a lemon car from them.

Instead you have to go to their "hired gun" private process, where a privately run business (that is paid by Hyundai) decides what, if anything, you should get for your troubles. And the only way out of it is if you send them an email or letter, within a short 90 days of buying the car, that says you won't go along with their private "arbitration" process. Otherwise, your legal rights disappear as you drive the car down the block.

Burying it away in a manual is sneaky of course. Hyundai is counting on you not even noticing the binding "arbitration" notice, or that you won't understand the actual legal impact of it on you.

So, when you buy Hyundai you may well get reliability if you are lucky. But if you get a lemon, you also get the shaft because arbitration sucks for lots of reasons. You can check this web site page for some of them: http://www.arbitrationsucks.com/.

And if you want to "opt out" of the Hyundai private-you-can't-tell-anyone-you-got-a-lemon process that takes away your legal rights? Well, you can click right here to do it - and we STRONGLY recommend you do just that.

You shouldn't have to give up your right to due process in court just to buy any car - no matter how reliable. Until Hyundai and Kia stop sneaking up on customers, and taking away their customer's legal rights to Lemon Law relief, we still say what we said before: Friends don't let friends buy Hyundai.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.