Hyundai brand has been going through a difficult time recently. A series of failures, breakdowns and problems with high-speed trains connecting Ukrainian cities has triggered a wave of criticism and well-grounded discontent from both passengers, and all other citizens.
In such critical situations negative attitude to a product is sometimes extended to the entire brand. Therefore we wanted to test a hypothesis and check if negative attitude towards Hyundai cars increased due to a rise in popular indignation related to Hyundai Rotem trains.
To answer the above question we have analyzed mentions of the brand in the Ukrainian media space for 1-24 December. The data obtained evidences that in customers’ perception the troubles with the trains have not affected an attitude towards Hyundai car brand in general yet. It should be noted however that a hailstorm of critical articles about trains did affect some particular cases. For instance, a popular blog describing a political situation intentionally takes out Hyundai cars out of brackets of a problematic situation with trains – "And while everyone is well-fed and even takes on credit a Skoda or a Hyundai (not train), most people don’t care a damn about the political situation”.
A virus replication of negative mentions was stimulated by ironic “popular” videos about Hyundai Rotem
Below is a semantic navigator for Hyundai brand. As expected, a key object which provoked the highest number of evaluating comments was a Hyundai Rotem train. A positive-negative ratio for this object is extremely negative being 1 to 22. A virus replication of negative mentions was stimulated by ironic “popular” videos about Hyundai Rotem - Hyundai style and eyewitnesses’ videos ”A diesel locomotive pulls a frozen Hyundai”, which burst social networks in December 2012. As regards Hyundai car brand, we can see a positive ratio 2 to 1.
Among persons mentioned in the context of the trouble with Hyundai trains a significant position is taken by Boris Kolesnikov, ex-Transport Minister – it was him that was accused of train breakdowns in 79 mentions. Moreover, a wave of popular indignation also affected Victor Yanukovich, President of Ukraine, and Nikolay Azarov, Prime Minister (9 and 8 negative comments respectively). Commenting on the trouble with Hyundai Rotem, social media members suggest as a worthy alternative to Korean machinery Kriukov trains (11 positive opinions) and Sapsan trains (5 positive opinions) represented in Russia. Meanwhile Skoda trains enjoy an ambiguous attitude – 6 positive opinions against 5 negative ones.
In conclusion we wish Hyundai company would successfully solve all technical troubles, and domestic manufacturers would successfully compete with European and Asian companies.
We will be glad to answer additional questions on the research in comments!
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