Business, Economics and Jobs

Hyundai, Kia overstate fuel efficiency of their cars, will reimburse customers


Hyundai vehicles are parked on the sales lot at Rick Case Plantation Hyundai on April 3, 2012 in Plantation, Florida.


Joe Raedle

Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. announced Friday that many Hyundai and Kia models they’ve been selling since 2010 are not as fuel-efficient as they had claimed, the Washington Post reported. The companies said it was due to an internal testing problem and promised to reimburse customers for the extra money they’re spending on gas, a move that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

US Environmental Protection Agency tests determined that 13 Hyundai and Kia models had actual mileage that was 1 to 2 miles less per gallon than advertised, with one version of the Kia Soul getting a whole 6 miles less per gallon on the highway, according to Reuters.

The EPA’s auditing program has found vehicles whose mileage stickers needed to be corrected only twice since 2000, and “this is the first time where a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer have deviated so significantly,” the agency said, according to the Washington Post.

Car owners will be reimbursed via debit card, based on their local fuel price and the miles they’ve driven, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters:

An extra 15 percent to the amount will be added to acknowledge the inconvenience and owners will be able to refresh their cards for as long as they own their vehicles, the companies said.

About 900,000 cars in the US and 172,000 cars in Canada were sold with inflated mileage stickers, Reuters reported. If all 900,000 US owners are compensated, the car companies will pay out nearly $80 million.

“The good news is that the system worked,” auto analyst John O’Dell of said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “Although it took more than a year, the EPA did catch the discrepancies and is requiring Hyundai and Kia to correct their claims and make it up to customers.”

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