November 2, 2012
Kia, Hyundai Pay For Misleading Customers About Vehicle MPGs
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Fuel economy is one of the most important features of any new car, and with many looking to either save some money or save the planet, it is becoming a crucial selling point for many automobiles. Therefore, many auto buyers look for the MPG rating on the window sticker before anything else; but what if this rating is incorrect?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently investigated the MPG ratings on some Kia and Hyundai models and have found that these numbers were inaccurate and generously overstated, even by as much as 6 miles per gallon.
Now, according to the Associated Press (AP), these Korean automakers must retrofit their window stickers to display the correct MPG and may even face sanctions from the US government.
"Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy,” said Gina McCarthy, an assistant administrator with the EPA. "EPA's investigation will help protect consumers and ensure a level playing field among automakers."
The EPA has said they´re not yet done with the investigation and refused to comment on if Hyundai or Kia will be fined as a result of these miscalculations. This was, however, the first time the EPA has noticed these MPG errors across several models from the same manufacturer. According to the government agency, similar errors have only been discovered twice since 2000, and those were found in single models.
Executives for both automakers have apologized for the mistake and have said they did not intend to mislead any drivers with these erroneous ratings. Some 900,000 cars and SUVs are predicted to have been sold with the wrong rating on the window sticker, and the two car makers have said they intend to pay these drivers back for their lost mileage.
There are 13 models released between 2011 and 2013 which have been found to earn less gas mileage than their window stickers promised. These models include Hyundai´s Elantra, Sonata hybrid, Accent, Azera, Genesis, Tuscon, Veloster and Santa Fe. The Kia models included are the Sorrento, Rio, Soul, Sportage, and Optima Hybrid. Kia and Hyundai are owned and built by the same company, though they´re marketed and sold as two different brands.
"We're just extremely sorry about these errors," said John Krafcik, Hyundai´s CEO of American operations, speaking with the AP. "We're driven to make this right."
Pun aside, it seems the company is willing to make this right to their customers.
The 2 companies have said they plan to find out how many miles their customers have driven in these cars and what kind of mileage they were getting, then crunch the numbers together. The companies will then reimburse these customers for the amount of extra gas they´ve had to pay, as well as an extra 15% for the inconvenience.
Kia and Hyundai will make these payments to their customers with debit cards, said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing for Kia.
The AP lists an example of a driver in Florida who will have the difference of one mile per gallon made up to them every year. The price of this one gallon would cost Kia or Hyundai $88.03 every year. These customers can continue to receive these cards for as long as they own the car, said Sprague.