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Hyundai and Kia Overstated Fuel Economy Estimates, Will Reimburse Owners

Hyundai and Kia Overstated Fuel Economy Estimates, Will Reimburse Owners

By Jeff Youngs, November 02, 2012
The Detroit News and Automotive News are reporting that, following an investigation conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Hyundai and Kia overstated fuel-economy estimates for more than 900,000 vehicles sold during the past 2 years. As a result, fuel-economy estimates for most 2012 and 2013 Hyundai and Kia models will drop, and new window stickers showing the revised estimates will be applied to unsold vehicles.

In a statement to The Detroit News, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik said, "Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we're extremely sorry about these errors. We're going to make this right." Krafcik claimed the misstated EPA fuel-economy estimates touted by the company were the result of "procedural errors" in Hyundai's internal testing method, compared to the EPA's recommendations.

Hyundai and Kia will compensate owners to cover the difference in fuel cost between what owners may have expected and what they actually achieved. Dealers will check odometers and, based on the difference between the old EPA combined fuel-economy estimates and the new EPA combined fuel-economy estimates, calculate what the vehicle owner actually spent, compared with what the owner expected to spend. The companies will then add 15% to the total, put the money on a debit card, and send it to the owner.

According to the Associated Press, the EPA launched its investigation into Hyundai and Kia models after receiving complaints from vehicle owners. "Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator of the EPA's air-quality office. "EPA's investigation will help protect consumers and ensure a level playing field among automakers."