Hyundai and Kia Caught Exaggerating Fuel Economies

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The 2013 Hyundai Accent
(Above) The 2013 Hyundai Accent

Though both arms of the Hyundai Motor Group insist it was an honest mistake, the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency recently uncovered discrepancies between the actual and advertised fuel economies of a large number of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.  According to an EPA press release, each year the agency tests a random pool of about 15% of new vehicles to make sure their MPG ratings are as advertised.  On only two vehicles tested since 2000 have they discovered inaccuracies, and never before have they seen problems with more than one vehicle from the same automaker.  After receiving several complaints from Hyundai and Kia owners, however, the EPA decided to further investigate the vehicles at their National Vehicle and Fuel Emission Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As the Detroit News reports, the EPA found that 35% or 900,000 of the Hyundai Motor Company’s 2011-2013 model year vehicles were advertised with inaccurate fuel economy ratings. The ratings for over half of these Kia and Hyundai vehicles were exaggerated by 1 mpg, a little over a quarter of them were inflated by 2 mpg, and the remaining 9% of them were overestimated by 3 or 4 mpg. If the cars with the mileage discrepancies have not yet been sold, the EPA reports that the Hyundai Motor Company will change their window stickers to reflect their accurate fuel economies.

For those who have already purchased one of these cars, Hyundai plans on reimbursing them based on how far they’ve already driven it.  A press release issued by Hyundai and Kia outlines the plan, which is to award owners the difference of what they paid for gas and what they would have paid if the car got the number of miles per gallon originally advertised.  Owners will get the difference in the form of a prepaid debit card and will be able to refresh the cards until they no longer own the vehicle.  Hyundai says it will add an additional 15% to each debit card to cover any inconveniences the inaccurate ratings have caused.

On top of the millions of dollars they will spend reimbursing current owners, Hyundai and Kia are also expected to spend a significant amount of money on an upcoming apologetic advertising campaign.  Both automakers are extremely remorseful about the situation, and they blame the inaccurate ratings on both procedural and human errors that they insist were honest mistakes.