Print 40 comment(s) - last by sigmatau.. on Dec 3 at 9:09 PM

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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I hate to say it, but...
By TennesseeTony on 11/30/2012 8:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to say it, but I bought a Kia Soul last year. I get 24 mpg around town, and a truly pathetic 21 mpg (worse than city) on the hwy.

I feel a bit better knowing I may be compensated for the MUCH lower than advertised fuel economy. 30 mpg hwy down to 21 mpg is substantial, but I'll leave it to the calculator masters above to run the numbers.

RE: I hate to say it, but...
By lagomorpha on 11/30/2012 8:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
Are you absolutely certain there isn't something mechanically wrong with your particular car? 24 mpg is bad for a larger car with a lot more power.

RE: I hate to say it, but...
By FaaR on 12/1/2012 12:11:06 PM , Rating: 3
Lead right foot syndrome, most likely... ;)

RE: I hate to say it, but...
By Samus on 12/2/2012 3:38:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yup. I'd add that Kia/Hyundai owners are typically the worst drivers on the road and its safe to say efficient driving isn't on their agenda.

After all, anyone buying a Korean is looking for the cheapest car on the market (especially when it comes to used cars because Kia/Hyundai have terrible resale value) and anybody in this category is unlikely to maintain or know anything about cars.

RE: I hate to say it, but...
By Alexvrb on 12/2/2012 3:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
There is no way that leadfoot driving should lead to that kind of mileage on the highway. There has to be something wrong with that vehicle to get significantly worse mileage on the highway than around town. Like a faulty torque converter lockup solenoid preventing the converter from locking up at all. Something like that would cause poor mileage at highway speeds, as the motor would stay at moderate RPMs even just cruising at 60+ MPH.

Those are some really piss-poor numbers and assuming he's not just completely lying, blaming Kia/Hyundai drivers seems a bit asinine.

I'm not a big fan of Korean cars either, but the current gen models aren't that terrible - even the budget ones. I don't think the reliability picture is nearly as bad as some people make it seem. Usually the ones that rip on them the most are elitist Honda and Toyota owners. The main reason I don't like them is that I keep cars for a long time, and the availability and pricing on parts for Hyundai/Kia are not as good as most makes for the same class of vehicle.

On the other hand, I feel like the mileage issue is important in the bigger picture. A lot of people buy them not only for price but for anticipated mileage over the long haul. So I think the mileage issue is important, since they have lured potential buyers away from other brands by claiming a false lead in mileage.

RE: I hate to say it, but...
By Lord 666 on 11/30/2012 10:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
Should have purchased a TDI made in your home state

RE: I hate to say it, but...
By EricMartello on 12/1/2012 8:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
As a marketing guy myself I am genuinely interested in knowing what goes through the mind of someone who ultimately decides to purchase a Kia, priced between $15K and $19K MSRP.

Is it souly the price or do you actually find it to be aesthetically pleasing?

Does your Kia do something better than other cars in its price range, like ensuring you never lose your virginity?

Knowing that you could spend a little more and purchase a much nicer vehicle (or a bicycle), arguably of better quality both mechanically and aesthetically, what made you decide that yes, the KIA is the way to go?

Better vehicles than your Kia under $20K brand new:

- Honda Civic
- GMC Canyon
- Chevy Colorado
- Mitsubishi Lancer
- Nissan Sentra
- Scion TC
- VW Jetta
- VW Golf
- Jeep Patriot
- Ford Focus
- Subaru Impreza

So from that non-exhaustive list (in no special order) you can see there are a lot of vehicles which are well below $20K MSRP and within the price range of the Kia Soul - what could possibly compel you to disregard all of those better options and choose a Kia.

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