Hyundai and Kia to Voluntarily Adjust the Fuel Economy Ratings
Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motor America have decided to voluntarily adjust the fuel economy ratings for close to 900,000 of their 2011-13 models sold through October 31, 2012.
That adds up to roughly 35 percent of all their vehicles, with the announcement coming after discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -EPA.
The changes were made after it was discovered that errors made at the joint testing operations in Korea resulted in incorrect fuel ratings for certain vehicles.
In order to correct the error, Hyundai/Kia is relabeling the affected vehicles that are now sitting in showrooms. The end result of the changes is that the fleet fuel economy for both drops by about 3%, from 27 to 26 mpg.
Dr. W. C. Yang, chief technology officer of Hyundai/Kia research and development apologized to all customers affected by the error. He went on to say that the companies decided to take immediate voluntary action after the EPA audit results were released.
The companies are also putting together a reimbursement plans that will compensate owners affected by the error. The money paid out will be to cover the additional fuel costs that may have arose due to the fuel rating mistake.
The compensation will come in the form of a personalized debit card that will have funds added based on the average price of gas in the area the customer lives, as well as the number of miles they have driven in the vehicle. The companies also plan on adding a further 15% to that amount as an apology for any inconvenience they may have caused.
The owners who receive the debit card will be able to refresh the card for as long as they own the vehicle. The same reimbursement rules will apply to former owners who have since sold their car.
How did the error in fuel economy rating occur?
The errors occurred during a procedural process known as “coastdown.” This particular testing method simulates aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses, whilst also providing technical data that helps the companies generate the EPA fuel economy ratings for each model.
Hyundai and Kia will both continue to use technology to try and further improve fuel economy ratings in the years to come.
They will also continue to stand by the recent rulemaking issued by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America also took time to apologize to all affected customers, saying that with fuel efficiency so high on the priority list of Hyundai, the errors were particularly troubling.
He wanted all onwers, old and new, to know that Hyundai/Kia has their backs and that they will continue to work hard to make things right.
Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO, Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia also chimed in on the discussion by adding an apology of his own.
He also said that he hoped the reimbursement program would ensure that all owners received fair compensation to cover the fuel rating errors. [Source: Hyundai]