Listening to customer complaints may be an automaker’s worst nightmare, but also forms the best foundation of a chance to succeed in the future. Learning about the priorities of buyers in different vehicle segments will open the eyes of executives and could drastically alter the mission of engineers and designers. Watching the trends of rival manufacturers can’t set the stage for your next vehicle introduction but must play a role.
This must sound familiar to Hyundai employees. The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is, more than anything, a stylish Korean car where the outgoing Sonata was bland. The new Sonata offers no V6, because Hyundai learned that midsize car buyers aren’t making a demand for inefficiency and unnecessary horsepower any longer. Hyundai realized that the category was growing but budgets weren’t, so the 2011 Sonata is bigger, better, faster, stronger but still competes as a value leader.