STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford Hyundai owner Andy Shapiro knows automation plays a key role in automobile production. His recent one-week trip to Seoul in South Korea to visit Hyundai’s assembly facilities reinforced the company’s commitment to human values as well.
Shapiro was one of 30 members from Hyundai dealers in the United States invited to the car manufacturer’s headquarters. The purpose of the trip was to showcase how the company builds cars and get a glimpse at future plans.
Shapiro, who last traveled to South Korea in 2010, said what struck him was the role humans play in ascertaining car quality.
“What was interesting to me was that these are very high tech production facilities with robots helping put cars together,’’ he said. “Yet at the end of this highly technological process, there’s a human being that tests it. It’s a great combination of cutting edge technology and common sense. Every car is driven by a test driver to make sure it’s sale ready and the quality is high,’’ Shapiro said.
Hyundai manufactured 6.7 million vehicles in 2012, behind only Volkswagen (8.7 million) and Toyota (8.3 million). Even with its high volume production, Hyundai’s safety record is terrific. The 2013 Elantra sedan earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick earlier this year, one of only six small cars to receive the highest honor from IIHS. Hyundai’s Sonata, Azera, Equus, Genesis, Tucson and SantaFe all earned IIHS’ top safety picks.
“Their commitment to safety is one thing that really struck me,’’ Shapiro said. “They perform multiple crash tests every day. They have a total commitment and resolve to safety.”
Shapiro traveled to outlying towns to visit various production facilities. He said the company is vertically integrated and owns every aspect of automobile production, including steel mills.
“I always find it interesting to see what Hyundai is working on, and how committed they are to their vehicles,’’ Shapiro said.
Stamford Hyundai is at 85 Magee Ave. in Stamford. Store hours are 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday at Stamford. For additional sales information, call at 877-505-5839.