CHEONAN -- South Korea’s leading carmaker Hyundai Motor Group is looking to stay ahead in electric vehicle aftersales services as the company continues to ramp up the development and production of EVs amid the increasing demand for eco-friendly cars.
Lee Tae-soo, vice president of Hyundai Motor’s Korean customer service division, pointed to how the country's growing EV market meant customers have come to expect more from them.
Korean carmakers from January to October this year sold 107,783 EVs, with Hyundai cars accounting for 60,573 of them, according to a Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association monthly report. Total EV sales stood at only 31,356 in 2020.
“Under such circumstances, our customers’ level of expectation for the kind of convenient (repair) services has gone up,” Lee said during a media tour of the company’s Global Learning Center in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, on Wednesday.
Lee also highlighted that now is "the time to repair vehicles based on precise diagnosis rather than relying on the mechanic’s experience," adding such technical training has been the focus at the GLC.
About 32,000 mechanics have taken various training courses at the GLC each year since it opened in July 2018, the carmaker said. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of mechanics taking training courses was not seriously affected, thanks to the GLC’s facilities for virtual classes and online courses.
The carmaker has operated its official recognition system for the technique level of mechanics -- Hyundai Master Certification Program -- to foster more highly skilled mechanics at its aftersales service centers across the country. In order to cope with the rising demand for EV repair services, the company began another system called Hyundai Master Certification Program Electrified.
Under the program, cash incentives are awarded to individual mechanics if they achieve the first- and second-highest levels of HMCP -- L4 and L3, respectively, to bring up their mechanic expertise to the most professional level.
The four-story GLC features practical training facilities for all Hyundai Motor EVs, including Xcient, the carmaker’s hydrogen electric heavy-duty truck. There is also a 380-meter test driving range outside the training building.
The lengths of different courses vary, ranging from three days to four months. The dormitory can house up to 280 trainees at once. On top of the technical classes for mechanics, the GLC also set up a replica of a Hyundai Motor store to train sales staff.
Hyundai said its goal is to have mechanics with L3 of HMCP at all of its aftersales service centers, dubbed Bluehands, across the country. There are about 1,300 Bluehands in Korea, according to the auto firm.