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Hyundai and Kia Forced to Change 40-mpg Ratings

November 2nd, 2012

Hyundai Kia Lower Fuel Efficiency Ratings 2011-2013

Hyundai and Kia have lowered official fuel efficiency ratings for much of their 2012 to 2013 product catalogs as well as some 2011 models, after an investigation by the EPA found mpg figures for several cars and trucks to be overstated. Citing a “procedural error” during efficiency testing taking place at the companies’ joint facility in South Korea, Hyundai/Kia will financially compensate U.S. buyers of more than 900,000 MY2011-2013 vehicles for the estimated value of the difference in fuel costs.

The investigation into Korean car mpg ratings began in earnest with a class-action lawsuit filed by Hyundai Elantra owners who were unable to attain anywhere close to the EPA’s then-official figures of 29 city/40 highway mpg. The EPA does not physically test every single car and truck released, instead relying on data supplied by automakers in addition to random and targeted testing of a percentage of new models.

After verifying the owners’ complaints, the EPA expanded its investigation and found overstatement averaging around 3% throughout the two automakers’ product portfolios. This translates to a drop of 1 to 3 combined mpg for several models, though as much as 6 highway mpg for the 2012-2013 Kia Soul with its optional larger engine and automatic transmission.

Old and New 2011-2013 Hyundai/Kia EPA Fuel Efficiency Ratings

Current owners, as well former Hyundai/Kia buyers who have since sold their cars, will receive a debit card offering reimbursement based on mileage. Figure on around $88 per 1 combined mpg drop for each 15,000 miles traveled, differing slightly with local gas prices.

“I sincerely apologize to all affected Hyundai and Kia customers, and I regret these errors occurred,” said Dr. W. C. Yang, chief technology officer of Hyundai/Kia research and development, promising that consumers and the EPA were not intentionally deceived. We’ll leave it to the engineers to figure that out, but at least the automakers are taking steps to compensate those affected by the error.

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