In the wake of Hyundai and Kia’s admission earlier this month that they had exaggerated the fuel economy of a number of their popular models, industry experts are speculating that other brands may be also be forced to reduce their mileage claims in the near future.
Numerous automakers have come under fire in recent years for models that fail to achieve their advertised efficiency numbers in the real world, but Hyundai and Kia have been the only ones so far to be caught overstating the mileage of a significant portion of their lineups. Following an Environmental Protection Agency investigation, the Korean companies stated that a “procedural error” in their testing had resulted in inaccurate mileage claims for over one million recently sold vehicles.
"I think we might see more of this," Jake Fisher, the head of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, told Reuters on the sidelines of the LA show. "There are other vehicles that don't really stack up to the EPA estimates."
A closer look at the claims of the entire industry is likely needed, said Gary Silberg, KPMG national auto industry leader.
"We're from an auditing firm. What you learn in auditing is that if you find one outlier you have to test some more," said Silberg. "It would be my guess that there are others."
Hyundai and Kia’s admission highlights the potential for error (and manipulation) that exists in the current EPA fuel economy testing system. With a relatively small staff, the EPA is only able to test rough 15 percent of the new models hitting the market every year – for the remaining vehicles, automakers submit their own test results to the agency, which essentially takes them at their word.
Photo by Mark Elias.