In 2012, Hyundai Motor Group was caught cheating on their fuel economy ratings (MPG) by the EPA. Across much of their 2012 and 2013 fleet, including both Hyundai and Kia vehicles, the MPG estimates were 1 or 2 miles higher than they should have been. At first glance, that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal until you realize that over time that adds up. And who picks up the tab? The consumer.
Since that time Hyundai has paid fees, changed window stickers, offered lump sum settlements, and continues to be monitored by state attorneys. Here’s how we got to this point.
EPA Tells Hyundai to Change MPG Labels on Dealership Lots
- The EPA said Hyundai and Kia need to lower their fuel economy ratings (MPG) for the majority of their 2012 and 2013 fleet.
- The EPA audited the vehicles after receiving a number of consumer complaints.
- This was only the second time in 12 years that the EPA had stepped in to tell automakers to re-label their cars.
- Hyundai said it would comply and came up with a plan to change window stickers on unsold cars.
- In most cases the change is just 1 or 2 MPG, with the big exception being the Kia Soul which needs a 6 MPG adjustment.
- According to the EPA, this is the first time such a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer have been so wrong.
Consumers Knew it Long Before the EPA
Here’s a sample of Hyundai owner complaints sent in to CarComplaints.com:
“When I purchased this Elantra Limited I was told 40 mpg on Xway. Lie !! If I had gotten 35-37 mpg I would have been VERY happy! I get 31-32 mpg and 24-25 in city. I was told by a sweet saleslady at Hyundai in Huntsville, AL that this is an extremely well-made car, and I thought “WOW, this is the perfect car for my wife of 47 years to ride off into the sunset of our lives almost trouble free.” Pretty dumb of me not to think I was being “taken” by a car salesperson.”
“Hyundai told me that the mileage would get better when the engine broke in. I have never gotten more than 31 mpg on highway driving. Day in and day out, I average 27.5 mpg. I tried to turn this car in under the Lemon Law, but they brought their lawyers. They wouldn’t allow my gas receipts (I recorded gas mileage on every tank of gas). They tested my car and they said it got 41.3 mpg. I guess if you jackup the front wheels, turn off the air conditioning and set cruise control at 30 mph, that may be possible. They got fined $300,000,000 by the government for false mileage claims, but I never got a nickel.”
“HYUNDAI got back to me and said 14/17 mpg in NYC is normal… with only 1500 miles on the car … My solution, traded it in for a 2014 Subaru.”
Hyundai EPA Settlement
- After a year long court battle, Kia and Hyundai announced settlements with the EPA over MPG claims.
- Hyundai’s settlement is $210 million and involves 600,000 vehicles.
- The vehicles are the Accent, Azera, Elantra, Genesis, Veloster, Veloster Turbo, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson and Santa Fe Sport.
- Hyundai owners are expected to receive, on average, $353. Compare that to Kia’s settlement which figures to be about $667 per customer.
- Consumers can check their eligibility on hyundaimpginfo.com
Consumer Protection Claims
- In addition to those settlements, Hyundai and Kia need to pay an additional $41.2 million in fines to certain states to resolve consumer protection claims.
- Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
- Additionally, Hyundai and Kia agreed to monitoring by the attorney general of each state involved in the agreement.
Better Not Miss Fuel Targets
“_Hyundai Motor Co. would see a penalty of more than $100 million a year if it missed U.S. fuel economy targets for 2025 by just one mile per gallon, its U.S. chief said.
“Failure is not an option,” Dave Zuchowski, chief executive officer of Hyundai’s U.S. unit, said Tuesday at AutoConferenceLA, hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association and J.D. Power._”
Hyundai engineers have a lot of pressure to meet fuel economy targets. They are under a microscope and know that their cars will be tested rigorously.