Initially announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, the Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee applies to all U.S. 2012 model year Sonata Hybrids. It will also apply to future Sonata Hybrid models that will be sold in the future. It is important to note that this is the first-of-its-kind in the industry. Not that many details about the program were released at that time though, other than Hyundai toting the program.
It seems the Hyundai Lifetime Hybrid Battery Replacement Guarantee is not quite as sweet as it sounds. If the 2012 Sonata Hybrid lithium polymer battery fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs for the old battery pack free of charge to the original owner. Yes, “original owner” is the keyword here as coverage is not transferrable, and does not apply to leased or commercial vehicles. It also does not apply to vehicles serviced outside the U.S.
“Even with all the hybrid vehicle options on the market today, there is still limited demand for these vehicles because of barriers to customer adoption such as uncertainty about the technology and performance,” said Michael O’Brien, vice president, Corporate and Product Planning for Hyundai. “By offering the Lifetime Battery Replacement Guarantee, Hyundai is addressing customer concerns and demonstrating our confidence in the durability of our product.”
I don't disagree with my O'Brien, but when Hyundai announced the Lifetime Guarantee on the Hybrid batteries, it sounded to good to be true. Now that we know it won't apply to Sonata Hybrid models bought used, it was too good to be true! Honestly it feels like a bit of a bait and switch, but it is not surprising that there are some stipulations to the program. I guess Hyundai has not rocked the auto industry as much as we would have thought.
I highly doubt that people who buy Hybrids are going to want to keep the last-generation technology for years and years. I am sure the Hyundai bean-counters figured that by not covering used models. I am sure they are saving themselves quite a lot of money.
What are your thoughts about this? Would you still consider buying a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?