Fixing Kia’s broken after-sales support in Malaysia is the most important (and difficult) task for new Kia distributor Dinamikjaya, a subsidiary of Bermaz Auto, which has taken over the distributorship rights for Kia vehicles in Malaysia effective 1-April 2021.
Although many Kia owners are looking forward to a better ownership experience, they have to keep in mind that it’s unrealistic to expect the new custodians of Kia to undo more than a decade of neglect and clean up the legacy issues left behind by previous distributor Naza Kia Malaysia within a short time.
Just because Kia Motor has appointed a new distributor doesn’t mean that Kia can now start on a clean slate. Unfortunately, there is no hard reset button and someone has to fix the problems left behind.
For example, Dinamikjaya doesn’t have full visibility of every outstanding after-sales complaint / warranty claim. Records and paper work are sometimes not complete, as some dealers have since closed down.
There are also claims that paperwork records sometimes don’t match the actual work done / status of the vehicle, so before you scream at the new team at Dinamikjaya for not responding to your complaint, understand that there’s a reason for their inability to give you a clear answer immediately.
At a press conference announcing the appointment of Dinamikjaya by Kia Motors Corporation yesterday, Dato’ Sri Ben Yeoh, Executive Chairman of Bermaz Auto said, “Our priority is to engage existing customers. Look at their grievances and try and address those grievances and make them happy again, because a happy customer will determine the future of the brand.”
There was no mention of any new model launches. In fact, Yeoh explained that it takes 12 to 18 months to setup a CKD project, adding that before launching a new model, Dinamikjaya will first have to regain the trust of existing Kia owners, the people who have supported the brand before, to turn them into happy Kia customers before it can get new customers.
Previously, Naza Kia Malaysia had promoted Kia cars under the Kia Value 5 program, which offered a guaranteed resale value to buyers, on the condition that they replace their Kia with another Kia. Obviously with Naza Kia Malaysia out of the picture, this contract is no longer valid.
In the 2018, Naza Kia Malaysia also offered a 5-year free service promotion, which Kia dealers are now unable to fulfil because they are unsure if they will be reimbursed for the cost of work done.
Would Dinamikjaya take over the fulfilment of these promises made by Naza Kia Malaysia? There is no easy answer to this, as Dinamikjaya doesn’t have full visibility to what’s the actual cost and commitment made. To the customer, it may seem like a simple thing but at the corporate side of things, there are a lot of financial details that the company needs to consider.
When asked about this Yeoh said, “We are looking at the technicalities as well as the legalities of such contractual obligations, and these contractual obligations is actually made by the previous distributor. We will try and mitigate this as far as possible. It is also one of the priorities to meet and exceed, if possible, these rising issues with the brand. The problem is basically the after-sales and promises made by the previous distributor.
"We are in a transition period and we will mitigate the situation to the best of our abilities. I am not in a position to really commit to it but we will definitely be in a position to mitigate it. We don’t know to what extent those commitments are and what are the details.”
To existing Kia owners, it may not seem like much of a relief but as mentioned earlier, there is no simple solution to the mess.
What can Kia owners facing after-sales problems do?
First, resist the temptation to write lengthy emails ranting about what's wrong with your car. That only makes things worse. The more you rant, the harder it is for the recipient to understand your problem.
The people receiving the email has to filter many more cases like yours, so help them do their job faster by being (very) brief and clear.
Keep a detailed record of the hows, whys, and when.
Your communication to Kia’s customer care line (firstname.lastname@example.org) should only contain 5 things:
1. Vehicle VIN
2. Vehicle registration number
3. Name of registered owner
4. Statement of problem, in just one sentence.
5. Chronology of events
Leave your emotions out of it.
The chronology of events should only include date, service centre visited, service advisor spoken to, receipt number / job number, and outcome (in one sentence).
Or you could just pay an independent workshop to sort out the problem, because time is more valuable than money, and life is too short to be spent trying to recover so little from something that has so little value left in it. What’s the concern here? That your warranty will be void? But nobody wants to honour your car’s warranty anyway.