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‘Black’ Consumers Plague Import Car Companies
Structural Problem
‘Black’ Consumers Plague Import Car Companies
  • By Michael Herh
  • November 17, 2015, 02:30
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‘Black’ consumers give more trouble to import car companies already having difficulties due to various cases and accidents in Korea. According to the import car industry on Nov. 16, BMW Korea is busy handling complaints from customers who claim that similar problems occurred in their BMW models, as seven fires broke out in the engines of the Five and Seven Series models.

It is said that some customers demand that BMW Korea reinvestigate some cases that the company agreed on with them, after outside organizations such as the National Forensic Service said that their causes were not clear after investigation. They also demand compensation from BMW Korea.

A similar situation goes for Mercedes-Benz Korea. In September, an angry customer smashed a Mercedes-Benz car with a golf club, claiming that his car stopped suddenly and repeatedly while driving. After the incident, an increasing number of customers have demanded new cars claiming that the same problems have haunted them.

Mercedes-Benz Korea announced that a glitch in the engine control unit of the S63 AMG model stops cars, and will recall 555 units of the model. Some customers have petrified employees of Mercedes-Benz Korea, claiming that the same problem occurred to their cars, even though their cars are not the S63 AMG. The company has had trouble dealing with some of them who threatened the employees, saying, “I will upload a video where I am destroying my Mercedes-Benz car.”

“In some cases, customers made unreasonable demands such as addressing problems that arose from repairs by unauthorized auto mechanics and illegal tuning,” said a representative at Mercedes-Benz Korea.

Audi Volkswagen Korea also had an awful time responding to some customers who demanded new cars, although their cars are free from the gas emissions rigging scandal involving some of Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles. Such black consumers sometimes pressure import car companies by making bad use of internet communities and SNS.

“With a sharp increase in users of SNS such as Facebook or Instagram, every now and then some customers make unreasonable demands, saying that they will write their complaints about unproven matters on Internet message boards. Such acts give us a hard time,” said a representative at Mercedes-Benz Korea.

Usually, import cars are more expensive than domestic cars. But in many cases, their poor service networks have disappointed Korean customers. Another problem is that import car companies lack units that can tackle crises, compared to their sales increases.

“Although the Korean import car market has grown rapidly, it is true that import car companies have not satisfied customer needs,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim University College. “It is time to make efforts to address basic problems.”