The Koreans weren’t playing fair.
In response to complaints filed by owners disappointed with the real world fuel economy performance of their Hyundai and Kia models, the Environmental Protection Agency conducted an investigation, finding that the Korean automakers had indeed lied about the fuel economy of around 900,000 vehicles built since 2010.
After the EPA’s probe found discrepancies between Hyundai’s data and ts own results, the automaker stated that it discovered “procedural errors” in its coastdown testing. Hyundai says that 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 light of these findings, roughly 35 percent of 2011-13 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles will have their fuel economy ratings adjusted. That represents 900,000 units, of which 580,000 will see their ratings drop by 1 mpg, 240,000 by 2 mpg and the remaining 80,000 by 3 to 4 mpg.
This of course means that the 2013 Hyundai Elantra, Accent and Veloster will have their EPA highway ratings fall from the benchmark 40 mpg mark to either 37 or 38 mpg, putting them behind several competitors in their respective segments.
As a compensatory measure, Both companies will implement a comprehensive reimbursement program that will compensate affected current and former vehicle owners for money they would have saved had the original fuel economy ratings been accurate.
Customers will receive a personalized debit card that will reimburse them for their difference in the EPA combined fuel economy rating. As an acknowledgement of the inconvenience this may cause, an extra 15 percent will be added to the reimbursement amount.
“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.”