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Hyundai, Kia retract mileage claims

Automakers overestimated mpg, will compensate buyers

By AutoWeek Nov 2, 2012 5:39AM
The Hyundai Elantra doesn't get 40 mpg on the highway, as the automaker once claimed. (© Hyundai Motor America)





Hyundai and Kia overstated the estimated fuel economy on more than 900,000 U.S. vehicles sold over the past two years and will compensate owners for the faulty claims, a newspaper reported.


In addition, the South Korean partners will lower the fuel-economy estimates on most of their 2012 and 2013 models, the Detroit News said. The move follows an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which found discrepancies between its own test results and company figures.


The newspaper said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik attributed the problem to "procedural errors" in the automaker's own testing. He said Hyundai has identified the source of discrepancies between its testing method and the EPA's recommended approach.


"Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we're extremely sorry about these errors," Krafcik said. "We're going to make this right."


Michael Sprague, executive vice president for marketing at Kia Motors America, also apologized in an interview with the newspaper.


The newspaper said Hyundai will retract its claim that it leads the industry with four models that get 40 miles per gallon on the highway. According to EPA records obtained by the paper, the estimated highway mileages of the 2013 Accent, Veloster and Elantra will fall to 37 or 38 mpg.


The combined average fuel economy for Hyundai and Kia models will fall to 26 mpg from 27 mpg for the 2012 model year, the News said.


The newspaper said Hyundai and Kia dealers will check odomoters to determine how much owners might have saved had they achieved the stated gas mileage.


The companies will then add 15 percent to that dollar total and send debit cards to owners for as long as they own their cars.


Sprague told the newspaper that an owner who drove 15,000 miles in Florida this year in a car with an overstated fuel economy of 1 mpg would get a refund of about $88.


New window stickers with the adjusted fuel-economy figures should be applied to unsold Hyundais and Kias within days, Krafcik told the newspaper.


Hyundai and Kia are owned by the same parent company and share factories, research, platforms and powertrains across many car and light-truck models.


However, they market and sell models through separate dealership channels.


The Associated Press said the EPA received about a dozen complaints from consumers that the mileage on their 2012 Hyundai Elantra compact cars didn't match the numbers on the window stickers.


"Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy," Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator of the EPA's air-quality office, said in a statement cited by the AP. "EPA's investigation will help protect consumers and ensure a level playing field among automakers."


-- Automotive News


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Nov 2, 2012 7:40AM
Has ANY mpg rating been correct?...seriously
Nov 2, 2012 7:18AM
What about Toyota? I know my 2010 SE Camry has never gotten better than 20 mpg, although it is rated at 34mpg. That is the main reason I wont buy a toyota ever again.
Nov 2, 2012 7:42AM

The biggest problem is the use of ethanol blended gasoline. It takes 1 and 1/2 gallons of ethanol to equal the BTU output of one gallon of regular non blended gasoline. Add to that the ethanol is a 'dry' fuel that accelerates the wear in engine components and you reduce both the life and efficiency of the engine. Now add to that the cost to produce ethanol fuel in regards to the higher use of diesel to produce and deliver the ethanol and you have even more waste. Then as a final condemnation of the use of ethanol it reduces the average mile per gallon efficiency by over one mpg for the average car or truck. Is it any wonder the federal government does not care about the inefficiency since they tax consumption on the gallon of gas you purchase at the pump? The inefficiency raises more money for the they are in the business of preventing higher efficiency to a large extent to make more money to waste on pet projects.




Nov 2, 2012 7:02AM

Even with these re-rating adjustments, the new numbers probably still won't be accurate.  After reading numerous magazine tests over the years, I've seen real-world tested fuel economy all over the map versus the EPA estimates for the individual vehicles.  In mixed driving, few vehicles test right at the EPA combined estimate, others don't even reach the city numbers while some approach the highway numbers (mainly diesels).


Proof positive that the EPA labels are virtually worthless for comparison purposes.

Nov 2, 2012 7:14AM

I have the New Optima and drove from Central New Jersey to Baltimore and averaged 32 mpg. Not bad know matter how you slice and dice it!!!!!! If you want the truth they all lie about there mpg.

I had a Chrysler that said 25 mpg and I was lucky to 18 to 19!

Nov 2, 2012 7:33AM
This doesn't surprise me at all.  And I wouldn't be surpsrised that many American manufactured vehicles are purposely inaccurate as well.  Anything to get you to buy, buy, buy.
Nov 2, 2012 9:11AM
Keep the ethanol out of the fuel and everyone would get better mileage. 
Nov 2, 2012 7:33AM
I have a MINI Countryman, and while I really like it, it has never gotten the 37 mpg that they claim (maybe down a mountain with a tailwind).  On the highway, it gets about 32 mpg, and around town, about 30 mpg. 
Nov 2, 2012 7:30AM

They all smudge it to their benifit... no matter how gentle you drive it, it is almost impossible to ascertain the mileage they claim...


Nov 2, 2012 7:34AM

Most cars now have a instant fuel mileage gauge, they also have an average.  To say that you had no idea what kind of mileage you are going to get is stupid.  Also there is a huge difference between freeway mileage at 55-60 than at 70-80.  I have gotten better than sticker with my last three cars.  Not all the time granted, but it was achievable.

I think in the future you will see more cars get better than sticker mileage.


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