Hyundai and Kia Canada will be compensating owners of several 2011-2013 models that were advertised with overstated fuel economy ratings. Hyundai/Kia also revised the published fuel consumption for these models to reflect an increase from the figures originally provided. The program applies to current owners of vehicles on November 2, 2012, the date the shortfall was announced. Original owners who sold their vehicles before that date are also eligible for a refund.
Hyundai and Kia are offering a pre-paid debit card to be used in any way the customer desires. Owners will need to complete a form indicating how many kilometres the vehicle has accumulated and visit a dealer to confirm the odometer reading. Hyundai says owners can apply for additional payment cards at any time, but suggests applying on an annual basis as long as they own or lease their vehicles. Requiring consumers to visit their dealers for validation of the odometer reading annually to renew the card is a significant inconvenience that will likely reduce claims in the long run.
The APA analyzed the Hyundai/Kia reimbursement program and it looks fairly liberal. Hyundai is adjusting the refund to reflect local fuel prices and is adding 15 percent to the total for the inconvenience caused to owners. The reimbursement will be about $60 to $100 annually to most owners, roughly equal to a free tank of gas. The restatement is larger for some manual transmission vehicles, perhaps because their mileages were tweaked more for use in vehicle advertising. On the base 2012 – 2013 Kia Soul with a manual transmission, the restatement will be worth about $200 a year to its owner. The overall cost to Hyundai in the United States has been estimated at 100 million dollars.
The problem was discovered after compliance testing in a lab run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that randomly selected Hyundai and Kia vehicles were not meeting their advertised 40 miles-per-U.S.-gallon highway fuel consumption rating. Hyundai attributed the incorrect ratings to “procedural errors” at a testing facility in South Korea.
This is not the first time Hyundai has been caught offside on published ratings for its vehicles. In 2004, Hyundai admitted to overstating the published horsepower ratings for nearly half the vehicles it sold in North America from the 1980s to 2002. The average overstatement of 4.6 percent only came to light during random compliance testing by the Canadian government. Hyundai ultimately issued a program to compensate some owners, but the two incidents paint an unflattering picture of the culture at the South Korean parent company.
The misstated figures are much smaller than most consumers would ever notice, between .2 and .8L/100 km. In Canada, the wildly optimistic government-approved test cycle produces rosy Energuide fuel consumption figures that underestimate actual fuel consumption by 2-5L/100 km; this generates a lot of complaints about disappointing fuel economy. The situation is supposed to improve in 2014 when Canada migrates to the U.S. Department of Energy test cycle which correlates better with real-world driving.
On November 5, 2012, class action lawsuits were filed in Ontario and Quebec against Hyundai and Kia over the fuel consumption restatements. The motion filed in Quebec alleges that the defendants “seriously and significantly over exaggerated the fuel efficiency of the vehicles. Such false, misleading or deceptive representations deceived, or tended to deceive…” purchasers. The cases are requesting 10 million dollars for the misrepresentations, two million dollars for violations under the Competition Act and the Consumer Protection Act, and a further two million dollars in punitive damages.
What you can do
Owners and lessees of the affected vehicles can visit the following websites www.hyundaifuelconsumption.ca, and www.kiafuelconsumption.ca, to access a Reimbursement Calculator with a field for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which will generate a reimbursement figure for that particular vehicle based on the new versus the previous fuel consumption figures and the distance travelled. You must then visit a Hyundai or Kia dealer, who will verify the odometer reading and submit a claim form to the manufacturer.
Customers are supposed to receive a notice in the mail in the next few months, or can contact Customer Relations at 1-888-673-7773, or by mail at:
Hyundai Auto Canada Corp.
75 Frontenac Drive
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: There is no mention regarding the impact of selecting the reimbursement program versus participating in the Ontario class-action suit.
A: At this time, APA does not believe consumers are being asked to give up their claim in a class action to benefit from the compensation program.
Q: Are they mutually exclusive? Can an owner participate in both?
A: They can be mutually exclusive after a class action has been won, sometimes after certification. Not in this case, as far as APA knows.
Q: Does the APA have an opinion as to an owner`s best course of action? i.e. just take the offer, just join the class-action suit or do both?
A: Take the offer. It`s real money today. The action will take a couple of years if it settles, and it will likely take 10 years before refunds occur if a trial is successful. A settlement may distinguish between people who accepted the gift cards and those who did not. However the total compensation, if any, is not likely to be any smaller for someone who accepted a gift card. Registering with the law firm now, before the case is certified, is unlikely to affect your eligibllity for Hyundai`s offer.
Q: Why are some 2013 models on the list, but not the 2012? IE: the 2012 Santa Fe is not on the list, but the 2013 is? Is it because the EPA did not test that vehicle? or that they tested it and the result was correct?
A: APA has recorded a fair number of fuel consumption complaints on the Santa Fe, but not for the smallish discrepencies subject to this program. The Santa Fe we tested ( with the 2.0L turbo engine) was rated at 10.6L/100 km CIty and consumed between 14-15L/100 km in real-world city driving.
Q: My mileage is poor, but my car isn`t listed. I`ve taken it to the dealership but was told the car was running fine. What can I do next?
A: Register with Siskinds in Ontario for the class action. The wording of the action is fairly large and may eventually include ALL misleading representations by Hyundai and Kia regarding fuel consumption. APA has been recording complaints on Hyundai vehicles for fuel consumption far in excess of the published figures from before the fuel ratings issue became public, relating mainly to redesigned models. Our sense is the cars may be programmed at the factory to perform well in the lab test.
Vehicles covered by the fuel reimbursement program
The complete list of eligible Hyundai and Kia vehicles sold in Canada that qualify for the reimbursement program, as provided by the manufacturer is below.
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