Honda Motor Co. is not the most environment-friendly carmaker in the United States anymore. The Japanese carmaker has been unseated by Hyundai Motor Co., according to a report unveiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The group ranks the environmental performance of the eight bestselling carmakers in the US. It had ranked Honda on top of the list since 2000, when the report was first published.
At third is Toyota Motor Corp., followed by Nissan Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG. Lurking on the bottom of the rankings are Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Chrysler Group. Each of the Detroit 3 gained scores of below the industry average.
Hyundai managed to grab the top spot from Honda by offering smaller engines and hybrid vehicles. For instance, the launch of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid and the 2011 Kia Optima hybrid, the Hyundai-Kia group managed to substantially its efficiency score since the previous report of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Dave Cooke, the author of the report, said in a statement that while Honda still leads in several vehicle classes, it has started to lag the industry average in its midsize fleet. Honda’s midsize fleet, which counts the best-selling Accord, accounts for a quarter of its sales.
He noted that on the other hand, Hyundai-Kia has been working to further improve fuel economy and electrify its fleet. He remarked that Honda will need to “step up its game” if it wants to take back the top spot from Hyundai.
The South Korean carmaker also grabbed the No. 1 crown thanks to a decision to drop a six-cylinder version of the Sonata mid-sized sedan and instead offer smaller engines.
On the other hand, V-6 engines are still offered in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor remarked that the report acknowledges the carmaker’s continued work and commitment to cutting emissions as it bids to create “a better environment for all. The eight carmakers in the study account for about 90 percent of light vehicles sales in the US.