The repercussions of inaccurate fuel economy labeling on some models of Hyundai and Kia vehicles have become a bit more tangible to the Korean automakers.
Between them, the companies have designated more than $412 million as compensation to those customers with one of the dozens of models involved in the reimbursement program set up by the two companies.
In November of last year the car manufacturers acknowledged to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that procedural errors at the automakers’ joint testing operations in Korea led to incorrect fuel economy ratings for select vehicles.
Automotive News has recently reported that an official with Kia has said the brand is allotting about 200 billion Korean won (approximately $187 million) for U.S. customers with affected Kia models, while Hyundai has said it will spend 240 billion won ($225 million) to compensate its customers.
Following the discovery of the mislabeled EPA fuel economy ratings last autumn the companies were quick to establish a reimbursement program for consumers. Hyundai officials have said that reimbursement would continue for as long the original owner has the vehicle.
Despite the brands’ seemingly contrite actions to quickly rectify the issue, a civil suit was filed against them.
Ford has recently come under similar scrutiny for allegedly overstating the fuel economy of its C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid.
In December Consumer Reports said that it was not able to get either car to reach the 47 mpg combined fuel economy rating that Ford says each car is capable of meeting. As with the Hyundai/Kia situation, the Ford mpg claims caught the attention of the EPA. And like the Korean automakers Ford is now embroiled in class-action lawsuit.
While the automakers for now are understandably bearing the brunt of the backlash, the EPA’s fuel economy testing procedures for hybrid vehicles have come under fire by some for not accurately assessing how a hybrid’s engine can effectively give an artificial boost to fuel economy numbers.
As Consumer Reports notes, Ford’s system can operate in full-electric mode at speeds up to 62 mph. That ability, says CR, can greatly improve fuel economy in the EPA highway cycle, since most of the government’s simulated driving test measures gasoline used while driving at lower speeds.
According to a Bloomberg report Ford’s product development chief, Raj Nair, has said that Ford continues “to work closely with the EPA to determine whether the industry testing procedure needs changes for hybrid vehicle testing.”