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Rockefeller wants answers on how the automakers plan to reach their customers by December 14, 2012

Hyundai Motors Co. and Kia Motors are both in hot water over exaggerated estimated gas mileage claims, and the senate wants answers. 

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee who oversees auto issues, wants Hyundai and Kia to explain how it will reach and compensate its 900,000 customers after inflating its MPG claims. 

So far, Hyundai and Kia have said they would reimburse customers and add a 15 percent premium by sending out debit cards that can be reloaded in the future. The automakers could spend over $100 million compensating for their exaggerations. 

"While I believe this is a positive step, I am concerned that many affected customers may not learn about the program or may find it burdensome to participate in the program," said Rockefeller. 

Rockefeller wants answers on how the automakers plan to reach these customers by December 14, 2012.


The Kia Soul got hit hard with the revised EPA ratings

Back in December 2011, Consumer Watchdog called on the EPA to investigate Hyundai over its fuel economy claims. Hyundai claimed that its Elantra achieved 29 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on highway. However, the organization received a higher-than-usual number of complaints that real-world mileage was in the mid-20 mpg range.

From there, the EPA investigated Hyundai for misleading mileage claims and found that the fuel economy estimates of most of its 2012-2013 models were inflated. The same goes for Kia. Both Kia and Hyundai will be lowering the fuel economy estimates on the majority of their 2012 to 2013 models after EPA testing discovered a gap between its data and what both of the companies are claiming.

Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold since late 2010. Reports show that Hyundai alone could spend $100 million trying to fix the fiasco. 

Some of the MPG window stickers that will require a change include the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Soul ECO. The Accent had its 30/40/33 (city/highway/combined) rating drop to 28/37/31. The Kia Soul ECO saw the biggest drop of any affected model going from 27/35/30 to 24/29/26.

Source: The Detroit News



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Is this a big deal?
By ppardee on 11/30/2012 7:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
So the Accent went from 3.03 gallons per 100 miles to 3.23 gallons per 100 miles... This will increase the driver's fuel cost by 6%. Not really earth shattering. Most people drive like morons and wouldn't be able to get the full fuel economy anyway.

So assuming the car runs until it falls apart (about 30 seconds or .1 of a mile after the warranty expires, which ever comes first), this will cost a grand total of about $800 ($6/month) over the life of the vehicle.

If Congress really wants to crack down on them, they should crack down on them for making crappy cars. A leaking power steering hose shouldn't kill your alternator, you shouldn't have to dismount the engine to remove the thermostat and it shouldn't take 6 hours to change a headlamp. We spent enough money on repairs in the last two years of my wife's Kia's life to have bough another car.

My Chevy Cobalt has 110k miles on it (same as her Kia did) and has had only one repair done to it... Still on the same brake pads even. Kia's been shafting customers for a LONG time. MPG is nothing.




RE: Is this a big deal?
By ritualm on 11/30/12, Rating: 0
RE: Is this a big deal?
By drycrust3 on 11/30/2012 7:29:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that's possibly a better way of compensating those people who bought a Kia or Hyundai: offer them no cost maintenance (labour, oil, brake pads, etc) for the next 5 years or whatever. No matter what way you try, you cannot repay everyone, but what you can do is provide a way of offsetting the extra cost of fuel that the purchasers were supposedly charged by putting that money into the cost of correctly maintaining the vehicle.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By headbox on 11/30/2012 7:29:54 PM , Rating: 5
How about you do a little research, combine it with some common sense, and never EVER buy a Kia like the rest of us? Resale value alone should steer any buyer away from Korean cars.

Only 25mpg from an economy car is a big deal. That high mpg and lower sticker price were probably the only two selling points for the car to begin with. If the buyer wasn't lied to, they likely would have bought something else.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By sigmatau on 12/1/2012 8:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
BINGO!!!

I took Hyundai and Kia off my list for at least another 10 years. The only reason I ever considered them is because of low price and great economy. They also had a good warranty but bad reliability so that is kinda a wash.

I knew they were lying about their SUV's economy. I have a 2003 Nissan SUV and Hyundai/Kia's SUVs were killing mine in economy. I always thought to myself how odd that they improved on economy so much in such a little amount of time.

Why would anyone want a Hyundai/Kia now with soso economy, mostly ugly styling, bad reliability, and terrible driving dynamics? Price? Good luck with that!


RE: Is this a big deal?
By Mint on 12/1/2012 12:26:17 PM , Rating: 5
I'll rely on actual reliability DATA rather than the minefield of crap that is hearsay from people like you. Kia/Hyundai have improved leaps and bounds over their reputation rooted in problems 10-20 years ago.

Are they as good as Toyota/Honda? No. However, they have improved a lot, and are above all domestic and German brands overall, according to Consumer Reports. And to rag on their styling is nonsense when so many of their recent cars are getting accolades from everyone. Just stick to the topic of fuel economy.

Their reputation will pay for this fuel economy blunder, though, and deservedly so. If it was intentional, then everyone who knew should be fired. You'd have to be incredibly naive to think that in the information age such a lie could go unnoticed. It'll take years to repair the damage to their reputation.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By nocturne on 12/2/2012 10:21:27 PM , Rating: 1
Consumer Reports takes a brand new item, tests it, and gives a pretty wishy-washy review no matter if the product is great or horrible. The surveys of actual owners are rather limited, and take no look at all of long term reliability. Taking a brand new car and fiddling around with it a few days is certainly not what I call a comprehensive review.. For that, you only have to look at a long history of failure. Exactly why you should stay away from anything made in Korea.

One thing makes it abundantly clear how bad Kia and Hyundai are.. in what world does it make sense to take air/fuel in through the back of the block, and spit exhaust out the front..? Bad design concepts all around.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By Nutzo on 12/3/2012 11:50:15 AM , Rating: 4
You are completely wrong about Consumer Reports when it comes to reliability.
Their reliability reports are based on a very comprehensive survey they send out to subscribers, and consists of the repair records of thousands each of cars.

As for "fiddling around with it a few days", you are wrong again. They not only have basic reviews of new cars, but also run long term tests on many of these cars.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By sigmatau on 12/3/2012 9:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
What data? The kind you made up? You can take that and shove it up your rear.

Improving? From super horrible to soso? Really? LOL! Don't be so butt hurt because you have a terrible vehicle.

And did you really compare a Korean maker to a German? Are you insane? Those are mostly luxury brands minus VW. These brands typicaly have technology you will see in Korean cars in 5-10 years. Want to rethink that do you?

My gut was right to stay away from them.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By futrtrubl on 11/30/2012 8:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
If they expect to pay out $100,000,000 to 900,000 people that's only about $110 per person. Just in gas that's a lot less than they should get. And then the redoing of the mpg just dropped their resale value too.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By Targon on 12/1/2012 9:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
There is an additional part to this, the damage done to other auto makers due to customers who bought these mislabeled vehicles due to the fuel economy claims.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By nofumble62 on 12/1/2012 10:41:44 AM , Rating: 2
Lying to the consumer, yes this is a big deal.

I actually did a shopping research on the Elantra and Honda Civic early this year. The Elantra claimed 40MPG while the Civic is 38MPG or something, but when I went to the fuel economy website and looked at people actual mileage data, the Elantra data were lower than the Civic. I tested drove an Elantra and kept my eye on the MPG meter, it only registered in the low 20 during the trip. I know they removed the spare tire (to save weight) to get the 40MPG (giving you a goo pump instead). So I knew they were lying, and never consider them again.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By FaaR on 12/1/2012 12:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
It's kind of a big deal if a manufacturer decides to lie to you in order to ensure a sale, and when it's about something as expensive as a car it's even more worrysome, wouldn't you say?

It IS a big deal if manufacturers decide that it's more profitable to be dishonest than telling the truth. It's actually hella worrysome, which is why this kind of behavior needs to be stomped on really really hard. Not just fines for the company, but also prison time for board executives. Look at melamine scandal (and other food related disasters) in china as an example of what can happen when companies put profits above honesty.


RE: Is this a big deal?
By Dr of crap on 12/3/2012 8:30:58 AM , Rating: 3
OK, but is it worth the congress time and effort????

Yes they mis-stated mpg numbers. So we need the govt to step in and like they always do take to much time and waste our tax money on something so stupid? As stated on here MOST drivers will not experience stated mpg number no matter what is on the window sticker.

Give back some money - ok, but lets not get congress anymore involved - please.
It's not like the cars are burning up with anyone inside!
They're just using a bit more gas!


RE: Is this a big deal?
By Rukkian on 12/3/2012 9:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
When you get a bunch of constituents wanting something done, this is exactly what a congress person should be doing. One customer cannot get much done, but if enough get together, it should be dealt with. Whether it is congress or another agency, it is still tax dollars. The government should be looking out for issues like this and penalizing the companies involved.

To me, this is much better than the bickering and political fighting that normally happens in congress right now on both sides.

As to your statement that most consumers will not see the numbers anyways, that does not matter, as I am sure if there is a 5-10% difference in gas money at the posted numbers, there should be at least that much difference for the typical driver as well.


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