Thousands of irate Kia owners will never receive map updates for the satellite navigation in their car.
Many thousands more will finally have access to updates, after waiting up to two years – but they will have to pay for them out of their own pocket.
They are victims of the Korean company’s decision to dump its original navigation provider and move to an in-house system, a decision that kicked in at the beginning of this year.
A spokesman for the company said the situation was unfortunate, but the company had achieved the best possible outcome – at no small cost.
“The point is there is nothing we can do for the ones that are caught in the black hole,” he said.
To put this in perspective Kia started rolling out satellite navigation in its vehicles from 2012, with hardware provided by Motrex and mapping supplied by Here Maps.
Buyers were initially promised two complimentary map updates over a three-year period, one at the 12-month anniversary of purchase, the second at 24 months – as part of what was called Mapcare.
The trouble is many owners claim they have never received even a single update – just check the forums.
The Mapcare offer was withdrawn from January 1 this year and no longer appears on Kia’s website.
A spokesman for Kia Australia reveals the company has been pursuing a solution to the dilemma since 2014.
After negotiations broke down with Here Maps, the company approached TomTom which has been able to furnish maps that will work with later models – albeit for a considerable sum up front.
These “subsidised” updates will be available to the owners of 2014 models and up, with the roll out starting this month.
The cost will be about $250 which includes labour and GST, and the good news is that customers will not be limited to one update, provided you’re prepared to pay.
If you own a 2012 or 2013 model, however – you’re plumb out of luck.
General Manager – Media & Corporate Communications, Kevin Hepworth, explained that newer maps, even if the company had access to them, would not work with the older models because the system itself would not support them.
Here at Cars4starters we have been pursuing the issue of the missing Kia maps for almost 12 months.
We became aware of the problem after purchasing a late model Kia Sportage at the beginning of the year, only to find the map was way out of date.
Delivered in January 2016, the map in our Sportage s dated Q3, 2014 – making it more than three years old.
When we had the car serviced earlier this year, we were told we already had the latest map.
Not surprisingly the road system has changed quite a bit since then and continues to do so – so keeping the navigation system up to date is crucial.
Kia has sold more than 200,000 vehicles in Australia since it introduced satellite navigation.
Obviously not all of these vehicles were fitted with navigation, but many were including top of the range models in which it was usually standard.
It was available as an option in many other models.
Kia cannot or will not give us a complete breakdown of the number of vehicles affected, but we estimate the total to be around 60,000 cars.
The figures they have supplied show 45,000 vehicles are eligible for updates, but it cannot put a figure on the number of cars that will miss out – that is those vehicles built in 2012, 2013 and some 2014 models.
But, looking at the sales figures for this period (75,000) it has to be around 20,000 vehicles.
Only 10 per cent of owners actually request a map update.
Sorento and Sportage were the first models in the lineup to get navigation, followed shortly afterwards by the Optima in mid 2012.
Figures show 45,000 vehicles can be updated, including: Cerato (6068 units), Optima (3753), Sportage (18,475), Sorento (11,435), Rondo (191) and Carnival (4931).
For Kia it represents the one hiccup in an otherwise spotless copy book, at least since the early days when Carnival engine failed – but this was before it took over distribution of the cars.
“If they believe they are in a situation where they didn’t get what they were entitled to they can come and talk, but the onus of proof will be on them to prove they didn’t get it and that they met all the requirements.
“No one is trying to duck anything here, but there is an area where someone is going to miss out, probably through no fault of their own – unfortunately it’s the way the situation stands,” he said.