By Seung Woo Baek
Quality planning Team
My name is S.W. Baek and I’m in charge of strategy formulation as part of the Quality Planning Team at Kia headquarters. Today, I’d like to talk about Kia Motors’ strategy and direction for quality improvement.
In December last year, Kia introduced its global quality strategy called “Global Quality-3•3•5•5” during the Global Quality Strategy Meeting held at Namyang R&D Center. The strategy calls for raising Kia cars’ actual quality to the top 3 level in 3 years, and raising consumers’ perceived quality to the top 5 in 5 years. This is our global objective.
Kia Motors aims to rank among the top 3 in quality evaluations conducted by respected providers of automobile reviews in major markets such as the US, Europe and China.
For the US, our goal is to have our products undergo reliability reviews and receive recommendations from JD Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS) and Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), and Consumer Reports. In Europe, we will target the leading local auto magazines while in China our goal is to receive evaluations by JD Power and China Automobile Customer Satisfaction Index (CACSI) by the China Association for Quality, an agency operated by the Chinese government. In this way, we will secure global quality competitiveness and achieve our Global Quality-3•3•5•5 objective.
Furthermore, we have plans to maximize quality satisfaction for consumers by overhauling quality problems and halving the cost of claims within three years.
JD Power President Finbarr O’Neill visited Kia’s headquarters on January 20 and delivered a presentation to employees. “Global automobile manufacturers are making major production cuts. This presents a prime opportunity for Hyundai-Kia Motors to catch up with the competition,” said Mr. O’Neill. He added, “Kia’s Global Quality-3•3•5•5 is an ambitious goal and requires a detailed strategy for each region and model. The company also needs a plan to go beyond its quality improvement activities in order to enhance both design and emotional appeal.”
In an effort to promote the Global Quality-3•3•5•5 initiative among employees, Quality Headquarters planned a series of events from January 8 to February 6 at our major facilities sites, starting with Gwangju Plant, then Sohari Plant, Hwasung Plant, Namyang R&D Center, head office as well as overseas plants in China, Slovakia and the US.
Our objective is a very challenging one considering the short timeframe. Therefore, all of us at Quality Headquarters are focusing on ideas that are related to the Global Quality-3•3•5•5 strategic goal as part of our quality improvement activities. In particular, we are working tirelessly to map out a strategy and action plan that can provide actual assistance. Even the mood inside the office has changed drastically. I ask for your understanding that I cannot yet reveal any concrete details.
I must admit, I myself had initial reservations about our ability to meet the goal. However, the passion and determination of my colleagues quickly dispelled any doubts.
It’s unfortunate that a gap exists between the actual and perceived quality of Kia cars. However, I believe that through our combined efforts, we can eliminate that gap by raising the quality level actually experienced by consumers. Our rapidly improving brand image brought on by recent additions like the Soul and all-new Cerato (also known as “Forte” in some markets) will further fuel enhancements in our perceived quality. I ask you for your continued interest and support.