Hyundai rebuffs rumors on double standards
By Kim Tae-gyu
In the past, people tended to believe that Korean automakers sold better quality vehicles in offshore markets at affordable prices while offering lower quality ones in the domestic market at higher prices.
Along the same lines, rumors circulated that Hyundai Motor Group used different materials for vehicles marketed here and those shipped to other countries.
In response, the country’s largest automaker countered Thursday that it has used the same amount of galvanized steel plates, which are resistant to corrosion, for its products since 2006 without regard to their destination.
``Since 2006, more than 70 percent of the steel used for our mid- and large-sized sedans sold here were galvanized steel plates and the same standard is applied to those for export,’’ a Hyundai Motor official said.
``We have adopted such rules for all passenger cars including sports utility vehicles since last year. Hence, the hearsay on the different materials is 100 percent groundless.’’
Before 2006, the official said that different norms were applied with a reason.
``By the mid 2000s, the proportion of the galvanized steel plates were low for automobiles for local sales since Korea is not categorized as a corrosion-prone country,’’ the official said.
``That was the case for other countries not classified in that category. In other words, we have not braced for discriminatory policies before and after 2006.’’
The Seoul-based automaker said the global standard was applied in the division of the countries in tandem with their proneness to corrosion related to a set of criteria such as snowfall.
Specifically, the firm said that the maps drawn up by the National Association Corrosion Engineers was the standard.
The maps put such countries and regions as the United States, Europe, Japan and Southeastern Asia as corrosion-prone areas while Korea and China were excluded from the list.
``We do not have to keep the 70 percent rule for vehicles marketed here but in order to increase the satisfaction of local customers, we opted to do so,’’ the official said.
Of late, suspicions have been raised that Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors use different materials for vehicles in line with their destinations to hint at discrimination against domestic motorists.
Some media reported such allegations while Hyundai Motor Group said the press release was to prevent false rumors from spreading here.