Following an audit by the EPA that discovered fuel economy estimates were overstated, Hyundai and Kia have announced they will lower the EPA figures for a majority of their 2012 and 2013 models. While most vehicles will see an adjustment of one or two mpg, some vehicles, such as the Kia Soul, will see a drop of up to six mpg on its highway rating.
“Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy,’ said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “EPA’s investigation will help protect consumers and ensure a level playing field among automakers.”
After receiving a number of complaints from consumers regarding Hyundai mileage estimates, the EPA conducted audits and discovered errors in a 2012 Hyundai Elantra figures and further investigation led them to ensuring the automakers take this necessary action.
The EPA lists the number of vehicles affected as a “majority” of the Hyundai and Kia fleets while the press release from the automakers state only 35 percent of 2011-2013 models are included in this action, equating to some 900,000 units.
“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. “Following up on the EPA’s audit results, we have taken immediate action to make the necessary rating changes and process corrections.”
According to the joint press release, the fuel economy rating discrepancies resulted from procedural errors during a process called “coastdown” testing at the companies’ joint testing operations in Korea.
Coastdown testing simulates aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses and provides the technical data used to program the test dynamometers that generate EPA fuel economy ratings.
In addition to the revised EPA labeling, current and former vehicle owners will be compensated for the additional fuel costs associated with the errors. Customers will receive a personalized debit card with an amount based on the fuel price in their area and their own actual miles driven.
And as a further show of good faith, Hyundai and Kia will tack on an extra 15 percent to the reimbursement amount.