2012 Hyundai Accent Five-Door
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Hyundai and Kia adjusted EPA Fuel Economy EstimatesHyundai and Kia are lowering the fuel economy estimates on a majority of 2012 and 2013 models. The Detroit News reports a probe by the Environmental Protection Agency has found both manufacturers guilty of posting false fuel economy estimates on vehicle window stickers since late 2010. The companies will spend millions of dollars compensating the owners of some 900,000 vehicles sold under the claims. This marks the largest spate of fuel economy reductions in the history of the automotive industry. Prior to this probe, only two vehicles have seen their window sticker fuel economy values reduced since 2000.

Hyundai aggressively advertised the fact that the brand offers four models that boast 40 mpg, but that claim is no longer true. The 2013 Hyundai Accent, Veloster and Elantra will now see their EPA estimates fall to either 37 or 38 miles per gallon on the highway. The report quotes Hyundai CEO John Krafcik as saying, "We're extremely sorry about these errors" and blamed "procedural errors" in the company's fuel economy testing as the reason behind the discrepancy.

All told, 35 percent of 2011-2013 models sold through October will see a reduction. Of those, 580,000 will see a drop of around 1 mpg, while 240,000 units will have their EPA figures cut by 2 mpg. The remaining 80,000 will drop by 3 to 4 mpg. Owners will be compensated based on their vehicles' odometer readings, and both automakers will contribute an additional 15 percent over the dollar value. The funds will be awarded via prepaid debit cards. For an owner who drove 15,000 miles, an adjustment of 1 mpg would result in a refund of around $88.

For some time there has been suspicion that the Korean automakers' fuel economy claims were too optimistic, which most recently led to a class-action lawsuit filed in July of this year by an organization called Consumer Watchdog on behalf of Elantra owner Louis Bird of California.

The EPA and Hyundai have issued press releases on the new situation, which you can read below. You may also view the full model breakdown in the gallery below.

UPDATE: On a media conference call, Hyundai and Kia attributed the discrepancies to "honest mistakes" and "human error" during in-house fuel economy evaluations. Additional steps were added to the evaluation process in an attempt to ensure accuracy, which ultimately caused the higher-than-EPA figures. Both companies stress there was no intentional effort made to deceive either the federal government or consumers. There's no indication as to how much the apology campaign will cost, though Hyundai and Kia both plan to roll out extensive advertising campaigns to alert consumers of the issue.
Show full PR text
Hyundai/Kia to Correct Overstated MPG Claims as Result of EPA Investigation

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America will lower their fuel economy (mpg) estimates for the majority of their model year 2012 and 2013 models after EPA testing found discrepancies between agency results and data submitted by the company.

The auto companies have submitted to the EPA a plan for cars currently on dealer lots to be re-labeled with new window stickers reflecting the corrected mileage estimates. The mileage on most vehicle labels will be reduced by one to two mpg, and the largest adjustment will be six mpg highway for the Kia Soul.

"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."

At its National Vehicle and Fuel Emission Laboratory (NVFEL) in Ann Arbor, Mich., EPA routinely tests vehicles – 150 to 200 a year, or about 15 percent of the possible vehicle configurations – to ensure that their performance matches the mileage and emissions data required to be submitted to EPA by automakers.

This auditing helps to ensure that vehicles on the road meet tailpipe emission standards to protect public health and the environment and that all carmakers follow the same procedures for calculating mileage estimates. EPA conducts both random and targeted audits, based on factors such as consumer complaints.

EPA had received a number of consumer complaints about Hyundai mileage estimates. Through the agency's ongoing audit program, staff experts at EPA's NVFEL observed discrepancies between results from EPA testing of a MY2012 Hyundai Elantra and information provided to EPA by Hyundai.

The agency expanded its investigation into data for other Hyundai and Kia vehicles, leading to today's announcement.

EPA's audit testing occasionally uncovers individual vehicles whose label values are incorrect and requires that the manufacturer re-label the vehicle. This has happened twice since 2000. This is the first time where a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer have deviated so significantly.

EPA and DOE are updating their joint fuel economy site, www.fueleconomy.gov, to reflect the Hyundai and Kia corrected numbers.

For more information, please see: http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/labelchange.htm


HYUNDAI AND KIA INITIATE VOLUNTARY PROGRAM TO ADJUST FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS ON SELECT VEHICLES

Automakers' Average Fuel Economy Rating Reduced 3 Percent; Affected Vehicle Owners to be Compensated

ORANGE COUNTY, Nov. 2 – Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America today announced that, following discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they are voluntarily adjusting the fuel economy ratings for approximately 900,000, or 35 percent of, 2011-13 model year vehicles sold through October 31, 2012.

Procedural errors at the automakers' joint testing operations in Korea led to incorrect fuel economy ratings for select vehicle lines. As part of Hyundai/Kia's corrective actions, the fuel economy ratings for vehicles currently in showrooms are being voluntarily relabeled. With these changes, the 2012 Hyundai/Kia fleet fuel economy level is reduced by an average of 3 percent – from 27 to 26 MPG.

"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."

Both companies are putting in place a comprehensive reimbursement program for affected current and former vehicle owners to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the fuel economy rating change. Customers will receive a personalized debit card that will reimburse them for their difference in the EPA combined fuel economy rating, based on the fuel price in their area and their own actual miles driven. In addition, as an acknowledgement of the inconvenience this may cause, we will add an extra 15 percent to the reimbursement amount. Current owners will be able to refresh their debit card for as long as they own the vehicle. Prior owners of affected vehicles who have already sold their cars will also be reimbursed using the same formula. For more information about reimbursement and a complete list of eligible vehicles, customers can visit www.HyundaiMPGinfo.com and www.KiaMPGinfo.com.

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. Affected vehicles and their before-and-after EPA estimates are shown in the attachment.

Hyundai and Kia will continue to advance improvements in fuel efficiency through technology and innovation, and continue to fully support the recent rulemaking issued by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we're extremely sorry about these errors," said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. "When we say to Hyundai owners, 'We've got your back,' that's an assurance we don't take lightly. We're going to make this right for everyone, and we'll be more driven than ever to ensure our vehicles deliver outstanding fuel economy."

"As a customer-focused organization, we are fully committed to providing consumers with complete and accurate information, and deeply regret the errors were made," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO, Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. "Our reimbursement program is intended to ensure that all affected Kia customers quickly receive fair compensation."


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  • 474 Comments
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wasn't there a big story on this before and EPA claimed they retested and everything was fine. I was suspicious right from the start, it seemed rather convenient that all the Hyundai and Kias were hitting 40MPG highway with no special models and they had an add campaign about this. It was just too tempting to fudge the numbers to get to 40.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        [blocked]
        Jamie Elmhirst
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        It's automotive equivalent of studying/learning for the test. I place a much higher priority on the fuel economy results that actual owners/vehicle testers achieve in the real world. I'm pleased that my own brand, Mazda (I sell them) appears to be doing well in real world results for its SKYACTIV technology.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/10/hyundai-elantra-subject-of-class-action-lawsuit-for-misleading/ In comments for this previous story where I pointed out manufacturers DO THEIR OWN TESTING most of the time, and Hyundai might have been tempted to fudge numbers to hit 40mpg. LTAW indicated there was an actual EPA retest and they still passed. ""Importantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently confirmed our advertised fuel economy for the Hyundai Elantra of 29 miles-per-gallon (mpg) city, 40 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. The EPA results, generated from testing conducted on January 25, 2012 at the EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are identical to the testing data Hyundai originally submitted to the agency." WTF?? Did EPA screw up the first retest?
      anrean
      • 2 Years Ago
      Compensating buyers for current odometer readings is not enough. Sorry, but one of the reasons the sticker contains mileage statistics is because people care over the lifetime of the car, not just about the amount they have used up to the point the EPA gets involved.
      kuntknife
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's quite the coincidence how all of the "honest mistakes" and "human error" resulted in *higher* MPG. I mean, honest mistakes and human error have the same potential to result in worse MPG as well, right? Convincing...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kuntknife
        [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      six
      • 2 Years Ago
      How do honest mistakes always end up in favor of the mistaken?
      ynot1137
      • 2 Years Ago
      I owned a 2004Hundai Sonata, which I beleived was a fine automobile! Prior to its reaching 50,000 miles I noticed a rust spot by the gas tank. I contacted my dealer to see if could be repaired under the 50,000 mile gaurantee. I then began a series of letters to Hyundai! They claimed they would send a rep to examine my car and even provided a rental car for one day! I have since found out that the internal to external rusting was inherent in many 2004 Hundais (Sonatas), and the manufacturer "hid" the problem from the general public and refused to correct it under their 50,000 mile warrantee.I personally waxed my car three times a year...with high quality paste wax! My dealer volunteered to have the car fixed for me, I had, until this time always touted my Sonata, but decided I would be better off with anothe make. I have now had two Honda Accords and am completely satisfied. When I leased my current Accord, I thught about leasing a 2013 Sonata, but no longer can I trust these people! I beleive they knew they created a car with an inherent defect and engaged in cover-up tactics!! In a similar way they have deceived the American public once again!! Anthony S. Hathaway, New Hartford, N Y
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      "procedural errors", yeah right. This is an issue with the EPA estimates....the EPA does't actually test the cars, its the manufacturers that "test" the cars and they have alot to gain by gaming the numbers. The manufacturers should have to loan the EPA production standard cars, and pay the EPA to cover the cost, before release so the EPA can run them through a standardized test and get consistent numbers across all makes.
        montoym
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        The EPA doesn't have the time nor personnel to do that every year. Hence why they do what they do. Manufacturers test their own vehicles and the EPA chooses to test about 15% of the cars to check the manufacturers claims. It seesm to be working just fine since they uncovered this.
      Hello Dear Kent
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ya I know.......read the fine print, understand all the technology that goes into the millage formula.....bla bla bla. I had a '05 Sonata, mpg wasn't close. Then (to my shame) I bought an '08 Sorrento...GREAT SCOTT!!!!! even worse for what was posted. To note, I have well over 3 million miles of driving...I know driving! I tell you what, it seems to me these car companies should give posted mpg if a person drives like a wild indian, jack rabbit starts, slam the brakes on to stop, let it idle for weeks at a time, load it down with semi truck tires and an over grown elephant, then drive at speeds of 192 mph.....THEN when a person was to get way better millage than posted!......WOW, HOW HAPPY THEY WOULD BE!!!!!!!! Oh no though, lets manipulate, marginalize, screw the public, oh please goverment give me any way that I can make it leagal!!
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've got mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, it's nice that they are reimbursing owners. And just having to adjust by 1, even 2, mpg is pretty minor. Also, I had no trouble getting well over what my Sonata was rated at. Having said that, overstating it by 6mpg is just awful, and a huge slip-up. That kind of error makes you wonder if it wasn't just blatant intentional dishonesty. And that makes you wonder about other things, among them something already being questioned- horsepower ratings on some of their vehicles. When will car makers learn that you just CANNOT afford to do stuff like this these days?? These are absolutely crucial oversights that can greatly tarnish your reputation and negate any progress and success your brand has had in one fell swoop. And they can easily be avoided. Makers are just getting too greedy for their own good. They're not content to settle for 'tied-for-best', or motivated enough to actually outperform competitors without stretching the truth. In short- JUST DO *** RIGHT THE FIRST DAMN TIME!!! Is that too much to ask for?? I am spending $20,000+ on your product after all.... Read more: http://forums.motortrend.com/70/9334410/the-general-forum/hyundai-and-kia-admit-overstating-fuel-economy/page2.html#ixzz2B5cLm0aC
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Copy and pasted from somewhere else. Stupid lack of 'edit' feature...
      rubyer
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am so glad that we have an agency of regulations to bring about WRONGDOINGS! I am very much appreciative of the EPA, FEMA and other government agencies that are helpful to the American people. Sometimes, we may not like what "big" government does, BUT it works when implemented fairly. No amount of exaggeration should be done by cars like Hyundai; regulations do work! To those who have one of these cars, it sounds as though you may not have known about this, but for those who are looking to buy one of these cars, IT'S IMPORTANT! I was one who is or was considering buying a Kia because of how mercedes-benz like "lines" that they have on the car. It is very economical and it seems as though it is very good on gas as well. Possibly would have to reconsider now and buy American made car! Thanks EPA!
      THE 507
      • 2 Years Ago
      Building a brand takes a lot of time, patience and dedication. Especially dedication to the truth. But obviously Hyundai and Kia don’t understand that concept the way we do. That’s why they are now in trouble with consumers and more importantly, owners of their vehicles. Trust is the most important of all brand "pillars" and Hyundai/Kia have really stepped in it this time. And as others have stated in this discussion board, it isn't the first time owners of Korean vehicles have been misled.
      ejljr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Problem is, the mpg posted are still a lie. I'm tired of the EPA's posted mileage on cars. They are way to high. Every car I've owned shows a mileage from 4 to 10 mpg below the stickers listed mpg. I don't believe any of them!
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