Analysts are suggesting the procedural errors that lead to incorrect fuel consumption ratings for a number of Hyundai and Kia models will cost the companies tens of millions.
The Canadian heads of both brands addressed the media via teleconference last Friday to announce they planed to correct the fuel consumption ratings for approximately 172,000 vehicles sold between 2010 and 2012.
The fuel consumption rating discrepancies resulted from procedural errors during a process called coast down testing at the companies’ joint testing operations in Korea. Coast down testing simulates aerodynamic, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses and provides the technical data used to program the test dynamometers that generate fuel consumption ratings. The Hyundai/Kia average combined fleet fuel consumption ratings are increased for the 2013 model year by 0.3 litres per 100 kilometres.
“I sincerely apologize to all affected Hyundai and Kia customers, and I regret these errors occurred,” W. C. Yang, chief technology officer said in a statement.
“Following up on the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) audit results, we have taken immediate action to make the necessary rating changes and process corrections.”
The U.S. EPA certification is accepted by Environment Canada for auto imports into Canada.
Both companies have developed a reimbursement program for affected current and former vehicle owners to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the fuel consumption rating change.
Customers will receive a pre-paid credit card that will reimburse them for their difference in the combined fuel consumption rating, based on the average fuel price in their region and their own actual kilometres driven.
In addition, in what was termed “an acknowledgement of the inconvenience,” both companies are adding an extra 15 per cent to the reimbursement amount.
Current owners will be able to refill their pre-paid credit card at any time for as long as they own the vehicle. Prior owners of affected vehicles who have already sold their cars will also be reimbursed using the same formula.
For more information about reimbursement and a complete list of eligible vehicles, customers can visit www.hyundaifuelconsumption.ca and www.kiafuelconsumption.ca.
Despite the quick response, several lawsuits have already been launched in U.S. and Canadian courts. A class action lawsuit against Hyundai has been filed by London, Ont. firm Siskinds LLP.
Canadians who bought a Hyundai or Kia automobile between 2010 and 2013 aren't getting the fuel efficiency numbers they were promised, it said in a statement.
“Hyundai and Kia spent a lot of time and money selling Canadians a very compelling story, capitalizing on public concern over rising fuel costs and the environment. Unfortunately, that story was fiction,” said Matthew Baer, a lawyer with Siskinds LLP.
“We have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of these owners because we feel Hyundai and Kia should be obligated to tell the truth. They need to explain to Canadians what the real numbers are, and how long they've been aware of those real numbers. How long have Canadians been lied to?”
The affected vehicles for Hyundai are the 2010 to 2013 Elantra, Sonata Hybrid, Accent, Genesis, Tucson, Veloster, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT and Santa Fe. For Kia, the affected vehicles are the 2010 to 2013 Rio, Sportage, Soul, Soul ECO, and Optima HEV.