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Hyundai Experiences Déjà vu on Mileage Rating

Korean automaker overstates Sonata’s capability.

by on Mar.17, 2014

Hyundai is restating mileage numbers again. This time it accidentally handed out press materials for the new Sonata with the incorrect figure.

Like a relentless case of déjà vu, Hyundai is restating the mileage rating on another one of its vehicles. This time the 2014 Sonata sees its rating drop from 29.6 mpg to 28.4 mpg.

The new model went through a redesign and as part of that, the South Korean automaker tested the car at its facilities and actually determined the mileage to be 28.4 mpg; however, the number changed between the time of those results and press materials were developed. The company told media at its debut in South Korea that the mileage rating was 29.6 mpg.

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The company caught the error and issued an apology to the media that attended the event.

The mistake comes after Hyundai – and its sibling, Kia – it seemed anyway, was finally moving past a similar issue from 2012. The two Korean carmakers had faked fuel economy numbers on a variety of models sold during the 2011 to 2013 model-years.

Following an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the two manufacturers acknowledged that the stated mileage of products like the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Soul had been inflated by anywhere from 1 to 6 miles per gallon.

Lawsuits flew in South Korea and while some were dismissed, Hyundai – and its sibling Kia – settled the lawsuits in North America for $395 million, admitting they misstated the mileage.

As part of the settlement, Hyundai owners received about $350 each while Kia owners averaged $667 because the mileage gap was larger for that maker.

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In this case, there is some upside for Hyundai: the Sonata isn’t available yet. It will go on sale in South Korea on March 24. It will hit dealer showrooms in the U.S. after that. The Sonata is Hyundai’s second best seller in the U.S., behind the Elantra.

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Hyundai isn’t alone when it comes to this sort of thing as other automakers have faced flaps over stated mileage numbers. Honda settled a dispute over the performance of an older-generation Civic Hybrid last year.

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Ford compensated about 32,000 owners of its C-Max Hybrid people mover as a result of restating the vehicle’s mileage by nearly 10%, from an original 47 mpg to 43 miles per gallon. Those who leased the vehicle received $325, while buyers got $550.

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