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New Hyundai motor vehicle agency creates a stir

Confusion has taken center stage in the local vehicle market over reports that Hyundai Motors Company Korea is appointing a new agent for the Sri Lanka market.

The issue has come to public attention when the popular brand’s models have started to appear in shopping malls with so-called exciting prices.

Unknown to the wider Hyundai vehicle owners, Hyundai Motors regional office based in Malaysia, had reportedly forged links with a local conglomerate and had appointed them as an agent.

Accordingly, Abans Automotive have written to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) informing of their new status as agent of Hyundai Motors. This was during the currency of the agent of nearly 20 years, Hyundai Motors Lanka Limited.

The RMV has also been in receipt of yet another letter in which it is purported to be from Hyundai Motors stating that Hyundai Motors Lanka was not the agent and therefore should not be permitted to directly register vehicles, which is a system available to registered agents.

Hyundai Lanka who has enjoyed their agency status in the country for nearly 20 years had immediately contacted the RMV as they believed that the two letters to the RMV even though it was purported to be from the same person had allegedly carried two distinctly different signatures.

The RMV have since then written to Hyundai Motors seeking clarification and were sent by email the body of the letter this time without a verifiable signature.

These events on its own have suggested a sense of unfair and perhaps sharp business practices deepening the unhappiness of an agent who has served the Hyundai customers in Sri Lanka rather well for almost 20 years.

The current agent in Sri Lanka has represented the brand for approximately 20 years and has dedicated showrooms, but importantly, Hyundai Lanka have dedicated and experienced workshop staff trained to be familiar with the full range of Hyundai vehicles. This has become especially more important as vehicles in this day and age are heavily dependent on electrical work including the Hybrid versions.

However, the latest developments have created a sense of uncertainty, especially when it comes to warranty issues and as to who would honour the manufacturer’s warranties.

In comparative terms Hyundai is a cheaper vehicle than any other premium brand - meaning that a typical user of Hyundai vehicles will have just the one vehicle rather than the typical owner of a premium brand vehicle who is likely to have more than one vehicle at their disposal. The reasoning being that with a lower end of the spectrum vehicles like the Hyundai, the owner is likely to have just the one car and therefore dependent on timely service and repairs.

It is now being stated that the authorities need to look at setting up a Monopolies Commissioner in Sri Lanka due to the rationale that the Monopolies Commission would be able to rule that agents of specialist items like vehicles for example must be forced to ensure that certified workshops are in place staffed with knowledgeable staff in order that consumers do not get caught out when commercial disagreements occur between principles.

Abans has meanwhile denied that the letters were questionable and has suggested that the issue was more about bruised egos than any other.

However, as of 7th November it has been revealed that the Korean named in the letters has made a personal visit to the RMV (Registrar of Motor Vehicles) and signed letters in front of the Registrar.

Nevertheless, the real question in the whole drama is on the existing warranty honouring, service issues etc that appear to have been left in abeyance.

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