– By Marc Sibbald –
In November last year I ordered a new Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander. After many years of test driving the latest and greatest cars on the market it was time to replace my daily drive. With three growing kids the Commodore SV6 had served us well though it was now time to go with seven seats (and all the trimmings).
I was excited as anyone would be with a new arrival on the way. The leasing company had been great. The communication and customer service was excellent. There were a few special requests that stretched their normal processes though it no issue for the team. Overall a great experience.
Then came the interaction with the dealer. A well established outfit with several high volume brands and a dedicated fleet department.
A new car is an amazing experience for anyone. Retail, novated or fleet buyer, everyone gets a buzz. Even a crusty old motoring journo like myself. So when the delivery experience started with delays and poor communication I starting writing this article.
After several days, many phone calls, and several text messages in Mandarin (no I can’t read or speak it) an appointment was made for the delivery.
On the day I was busy like most people. Many meetings, phone interviews and stories to write. Making a firm time for the handover was more about time management than getting the car as soon as I could. So I allowed 30 mins for the pleasantries, paperwork and quick run through.
Everything was going well until I asked for the second key. Oops, left that at the office. Cargo blind? I’ll get it over to you tomorrow. Simple mistakes but something that dampens the excitement.
We discussed some of the key features and I asked about Hyundai Smart Sense. The dealer representative started to explain the list of features and referred to my experience on the test drive. When I explain it was a fleet vehicle, so there wasn’t a test drive, he offered to take me for one so he could show me how they worked.
I didn’t ask about Hyundai AutoLink because we ran out of time. I figured it would be easy to setup after I downloaded the app. The Santa Fe Highlander comes with AutoLink Premium which allows me to start the car remotely (and cool it down or heat it up). This was a feature I loved in the Commodore and the reason I picked the Highlander. Unfortunately it took a bit more effort to setup then I first thought.
After a call and some more text messages to the dealer (English this time), I made an appointment to get it resolved.
Once again everyone was nice and apologetic. It took an hour and now the AutoLink system recognised my vehicle. But I still couldn’t start it remotely. “It needs to talk to the server in Korea”, I was told. “Maybe it’s down. Try again later today.”
My bad meal had been returned to kitchen, given a pinch of salt, and then sent back out on a different plate. Lucky I know the Executive Chef.
Hyundai HQ was excellent. The team that look after the press vehicles had seen it all before. Their job is to make sure everything works for the journalists at the luxurious launch events so stories like this never get written.
It turns out the dealer pre-delivery team had plugged the AutoLink system into the wrong fuse socket. It worked when the ignition had power, but not when the car was locked. It’s connected to the cellular network via a SIM card and needs constant power. A simple mistake that will hopefully be avoided in the future.