In an unprecedented move, Kia and Hyundai jointly announced today that procedural errors in fuel consumption testing at the automakers’ joint testing operations in Korea have led to incorrect fuel consumption ratings for certain vehicles sold in Canada by the two companies over the past two years.
As a result of corrections to the testing procedures, the combined average fleet consumption ratings for 2013 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been revised upwards by 0.3 L/100km.
In addition to correcting advertised figures, both companies will compensate current and past owners for the differences in fuel cost between the original and corrected figures.
After visiting a kia or Hyundai dealer of their choice to confirm eligibility, customers will receive a personalized, 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, to acknowledge any inconvenience encountered, the companies will top up that reimbursement by an extra 15%.
Steve Kelleher, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada, estimated the average reimbursement to be about $90 per year of use.
In addition, current owners will be able to refill their pre-paid credit card periodically going forward, as long as they own the vehicle. The reimbursement will not transfer to subsequent owners.
Prior owners of affected vehicles who have already sold their cars, however, will be reimbursed using the same formula.
When asked by Autofile now the procedural error was discovered, Dr. Cho, president and CEO of Hyundai's North-American Automotive Technical Centre, said the company was approached by the U.S. EPA in the spring about concerns over its coast-down testing data.
Coast-down testing is an early step in the complex process of determining fuel consumption ratings. Data from those tests are used to establish dynamometer loading for the actual laboratory tests.
It was subsequently determined that there were differences between EPA's requirements and Hyundai/Kia's test procedures and those discrepancies were corrected, resulting in the revised fuel consumption ratings released today.
Fuel consumption was one of the factors considered in the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's (AJAC) recent selection of the Hyundai Elantra GT and Santa Fe 2.0T as category winners in Canadian Car of the Year competition.
Accordingly, the organization recalculated those vehicle scores with the new fuel-consumption ratings applied and determined that, while overall scores for the two vehicles were reduced, the change did not affect their best-in-class rankings.