In an effort to help diagnose and solve vehicle service problems more quickly, Hyundai Motor Co. has opened a service center in Seoul to give its distributors access to factory engineers via the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Overseas Service Quality Center opened in December and has diagnostic equipment, videoconferencing and Internet access. The center is staffed by up to 12 engineers working eight-hour shifts.
Chuck Halper, director of service for Hyundai Motor America, said the center is valuable to Hyundai and its dealership service technicians in the United States because it means that diagnostic help is always available - despite a 17-hour time difference.
'We use a combination of data feed and verbal reports,' Halper said. 'Sometimes we can get an answer in a couple of minutes or they ask for new information such as `at what speed does it happen? Does it happen when you start?' The investigation starts that day.'
The process works this way:
A technician who needs help diagnosing a problem hooks the vehicle up to diagnostic equipment in the dealership. Electronic signals are transmitted via the Internet to service technicians at Hyundai Motor America's Techline.
Techline tries to identify the problem. If the problem still cannot be solved, the Overseas Service Quality Center is contacted.
The service center engineers consult with factory engineers. The solution is sent back to Hyundai's Techline, which relays the fix to the dealership technician.
All the engineers in the Quality Center speak English, and videoconferencing and cut-apart engines and other components help ensure that problems are understood completely.
Helping Hyundai service technicians around the world also helps the Quality Center build a database and helps engineers spot trends, said Pete Egus, manager of service technology at Hyundai Motor America.
He said: 'They may find that a problem is common in cold, high-altitude areas.'