Hyundai finds new assembler

Hyundai finds new assembler

Adelaide-based PC vendor Hyundai MultiCAV has settled on a new assembler for its personal computers following several hiccups in its relationships with its previous suppliers.

Hyundai MultiCAV’s personal computers are now manufactured by PC-Club, a New South Wales-based assembler.

A spokesperson for the assembler, David Lee, said the company had been building Hyundai computers for two to three months and had processed several thousand orders.

Lee claimed Hyundai was one of several very large contracts PC-Club had signed in recent months.

The deal follows several complications in Hyundai’s supply chain in the last 12 months, one of which has landed the vendor in the courts.

Until August 2002, MultiCAV’s personal computers were being built by Adelaide-based assembler MMD Computers. MMD said this agreement ended in August 2002. Within a month MMD had filed legal action against Hyundai MultiCAV in the District Court of South Australia.

According to the statement of claim the assembler filed with the court, the dispute relates to MMD's supply of computers to Hyundai MultiCAV between May 2002 and September 2002.

MMD Computer claimed in the statement that Hyundai owes the assembler $246,175.36 plus costs and interest for personal computers that were assembled and delivered on behalf of Hyundai but allegedly never paid for by the vendor.

A copy of record obtained from the court shows that a judgement was made on the matter in February, but was then set aside by the court due to Hyundai's failure to file a defence. Hyundai MultiCAV has since filed a counterclaim and a directions hearing has been set for May 22.

The case allegedly revolves around a deal between assembler MMD Computers, PC vendor Hyundai MultiCAV and South Australian retailer Radio Rentals, which, according to a spokesman for the retailer "did not exactly go to plan".

The spokesperson did confirm that Radio Rentals purchased and received a number of personal computers from Hyundai MultiCAV.

However, he would not disclose any other information, citing a confidentiality agreement.

MMD spokesperson, Andrew Reeves, said that current litigation against Hyundai MultiCAV meant that he could not comment on the falling out.

However, business development manager with Hyundai MultiCAV, Dak Hartsock, said he was not aware of any legal action between the two companies. He referred the matter to the vendor’s legal department, which did not return ARN’s calls.

ARN found that following the MMD falling out, Hyundai used another South-Australian based assembler to fulfill a new supply deal it had signed with the Farmers Trading Company, a department store in New Zealand. Hyundai contracted Protech to build its first order for Farmers – an order of around 1000 personal computers.

A spokesperson for the department store confirmed that this deal also involved some minor complications, with the personal computers not being compatible with the modems included in the retail package. “The first batch of any order is likely to have some teething problems,” he said.

Protech managing director, Nick Cuthbertson, told ARN that the Farmers' deal was a one-off for Protech, after Hyundai approached the company to build the PCs to fulfill the deal at the last minute.

He said there were some problems with Protech's PCs being "incompatible" for the retail market, but would not discuss specifics.

"We got paid, the client is happy," he said. "But our focus is not on retail PCs - it is not in our corporate plan," he said. Cuthbertson said that while the deal was a one-off, nobody in the IT channel "ever says never" to doing such deals again.

"We certainly parted [with Hyundai] amicably," he said.

These complications aside, Hyundai’s current partners and customers were much more upbeat about the vendor’s prospects. Farmers continues to sell Hyundai PC’s into the consumer market in New Zealand, and a spokesperson for the department store said he is very satisfied with the quality of the product and its sales thus far.

PC-Club’s, Peter Lee, also said he has had no complications in building Hyundai’s computers since signing on as supplier.

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