RSM sees slump as catalyst for change

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RSM sees slump as catalyst for change


A Renault Samsung Motors employee inspects a vehicle at the company’s plant in Busan. RSM recently said it will reinforce its product quality and customer service. Provided by the company

Renault Samsung Motors is reinforcing its product quality management in a bid to overcome poor first-half sales.

Korea’s fourth-largest carmaker saw its sales plunge 41.7 percent on-year from January to June, when local buyers purchased just 30,648 of its vehicles.

Now RSM is hoping to use the slump as a catalyst for change by to upgrade its product quality and customer service.

The Korean unit of the French automaker will keep investing to satisfy customers with excellent quality, Renault Group COO Carlos Tavares said during a press conference last month.

“We need to recognize that our customers are satisfied with our product.” Tavares said. “We will keep working on that.”

RSM employees will likely hear a lot more product and service quality, and customer satisfaction, when Renault Group Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn arrives in Korea tomorrow to meet with company executives. The 58-year-old businessman is visiting Seoul for the first time since February 2008.

RSM said the company is on the right track to retain its reputation for quality in the Korean automobile market for the 11th straight year as it runs its “Best Quality Campaign.”

For the last decade, a consumer survey by Marketing Insight has ranked RSM as the No. 1 company in terms of product quality and customer satisfaction in the domestic automobile industry. The study assesses the degree of satisfaction of nearly 100,000 consumers, including those who own and plan to own a vehicle from the brand.

RSM defended its crown last year by earning the top ratings in six out of eight survey categories. The company came first in terms of initial quality, durability, marketability, satisfaction with salespeople, satisfaction with after-sales services, and overall satisfaction.

“Our achievement comes from our basic philosophy of ‘never negotiating with product quality,’ ” said an employee from RSM’s marketing department.

The company’s Vehicle Evaluation Standard (VES) team played a significant role in its success, according to the company. The team, which comprises 10 master technicians with Renault Group evaluation licenses, conducts tests in 18 categories. This arduous process involves filling in around 350 questionnaires that stretch over 500 pages.

The team also gathers customer feedback and analyzes market trends to find out what consumers really want from the company.

The automaker currently operates its retail and service branch as a one-stop service that grants customers access to product information, repairs and auto parts from the moment they purchase their cars.

For repairs, a technician takes care of everything including registration, diagnosing the problem, giving a quotation, getting the job done and delivering the vehicle.

The company said it does not charge a service fee for 17 basic examinations the car is put through when it enters the service center. RSM also applies a three-year or 60,000-kilometer (37,280-mile) warranty for basic auto parts, and a five-year or 100,000-kilometer warranty for the engine and powertrain.

By Joo Kyung-don []
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