Hyundai says mileage figure for Sonata was overstated, apologizes for error

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 18, 2014

Hyundai Motor Co. admitted that the fuel economy of its new Sonata sedan was less than it had previously stated. When unveiled the redesigned model to the media earlier this month, the carmaker said the new Sonata’s fuel economy had jumped 6 percent to 12.6 km per liter (29.6 mpg) from its predecessor.

Hyundai recently disclosed that the figure was erroneous and had been derived from tests at its research center. On government tests, Sonata’s fuel economy only surged 2 percent to 12.1 km per liter (28.5 mpg). "We are very sorry for causing confusion to reporters," Hyundai said in a statement.

According to analysts, the impact of the mpg error might be short-lived since Hyundai announced it before it started selling the new Sonata. Hyundai said pre-orders of the model had exceeded 10,000 units in four days in South Korea.

"This may have a short-term impact on its reputation. But for the longer term, it is better for Hyundai to take quick action before controversy erupts," said Cho Chul, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.

Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors are trying to restore their reputation that was hurt by a series of recalls and customer lawsuits claiming that they overstated the fuel economies of their vehicles in South Korea and the United States. While South Korean courts have already dismissed some claims, government authorities were probing others. The carmakers settled lawsuits in North America for $395 million after admitting in 2012 that they overstated mileage on over 1 million vehicles. [source: AutoGuide]

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