Hyundai says zinc plates for local cars

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Hyundai says zinc plates for local cars

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현대차 제네시스에 사용된 아연도금 강판.

Hyundai Motor stressed yesterday that it is using zinc-plated steel sheets to build the chassis of cars sold both domestically and overseas after it was blasted for reserving the more expensive material for exports.

The carmaker said both itself and its affiliate Kia Motors have been using the steel sheets for over 70 percent of the bodies of their vehicles, especially midsize sedans and more expensive models, sold in Korea since 2006.

As of 2011, it has extended the use of the zinc-plated steel sheets - which are 15 percent more expensive to make than regular steel sheets - to include all of its vehicles, it added.

The material is less susceptible to corrosion caused by moisture or calcium chloride, which is used to clear snow off the roads in winter, than cheaper metals.

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Hyundai said even though Korea does not experience as much snowfall as other markets it targets, such as parts of North America and northern Europe, it has been using the sheets for cars sold in the country for over five years.

Hyundai and Kia have taken flak for discriminating against local customers in their choice of production materials as prior to 2006 they only used the zinc sheets for outbound shipments.

According to the Korea Consumer Agency, 98 of the 123 complaints it received about corroded chassis from January to April this year targeted Hyundai and Kia models. However, this statistic is not as skewed as it may sound given that the two carmakers together control 80 percent of the domestic car market.

No complaints were filed about Renault Samsung Motors, it said.

Consumers were also irked about the short corrosion warranties available for Hyundai and Kia cars, it added. Most automakers provide a manufacturer’s warranty for corrosion, but the terms provided by the two leading Korean brands are considered especially stingy. The domestic warranties last just two years or 40,000 kilometers (24,854 miles) clocked, whichever comes first, or three years with 60,000 kilometers, depending on the model. In contrast, GM Korea offers five years or 100,000 kilometers, while Volkswagen, Audi and Peugeot guarantee 12 years and unlimited mileage.
By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]

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