Roughly 900,000 vehicles fall under the false fuel mileage claim scandal – enough for the brands to collectively set $412 million dollars to compensate owners for the extra yearly fuel costs. But fast action, an apologetic approach and proactive customer service seem to have circumvented what could have probably been a much bigger disaster for the automakers.
“I’m thrilled with any program that brings customers back,” Don Hobden, executive manager of six Kia dealerships in Alabama, Indiana and Kentucky, told Automotive News. “Some customers are actually reacting with some form of delight: ‘Really? I’m getting a debit card?’ It’s been really well received.”
While customers getting free service, car washes and gas might be happy, it’s an issue the Korean makers will be saddled with as long as the affected owners keep their cars.
The burden looks heavy enough that Kia reported a 51 percent slump in operating profit.
“The results were far worse than I had expected,” Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. said to Automotive News by phone. “I don’t think we can expect profitability to improve anytime soon.”
[Source: Automotive News]