Congressional Hearings Called For In Hyundai MPG Sticker Scandal

       Congressional Hearings Called For In Hyundai MPG Sticker Scandal

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Consumer Watchdog today
called upon leaders of the House and Senate Commerce committees to hold
hearings into the revelation by the EPA that for the first time in American
history large numbers of vehicles carried window stickers with false MPG
claims.

The nonprofit consumer group wrote the EPA one year ago calling for retesting
of the Hyundai Elantra after Hyundai's self-tested MPG estimates were far
different than many consumers' experiences. Earlier this month, just prior to
the presidential election, the EPA announced it had revised MPG claims and
window stickers on many Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Consumer Watchdog today
asked Congressional leaders to delve into whether the misstated mileage
estimates were a direct result of a marketing strategy by Hyundai to advertise
four of its vehicles, including the Elantra, as "40 Miles Per Gallon" cars.

"Americans deserve to know the whole truth when the fuel economy claims of a
large number of vehicles have been misstated by one of the world's largest
automakers for the first time in American history," wrote Consumer Watchdog
president Jamie Court to Senators Jay Rockefeller and Kay Bailey Hutchison of
the Senate Commerce Committee and Representatives Fred Upton and Henry Waxman
of the House Commerce Committee.

The letter requests that the companies' chief executive officers be called to
testify under oath and that relevant documents be subpoenaed.

The letter, which can be downloaded here
http://consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrhyundai11-19-12.pdf, continues:

"One year ago, in response to consumer complaints, Consumer Watchdog sent a
letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing
concerns about the fuel economy MPG (miles per gallon) estimates advertised on
the EPA window sticker of the Hyundai Elantra and requesting that the EPA
re-test the Elantra. In January 2012, after it appeared that the EPA would
not perform the testing, Consumer Watchdog then called upon the White House to
direct the EPA to conduct such an audit. Earlier this month, on the Friday
before the presidential election, the EPA issued a brief press release
announcing that it had required Hyundai and Kia to lower MPG estimates and
change the window stickers for the Elantra and 'for the majority of their
model year 2012 and 2013 models after EPA testing found discrepancies between
agency results and data submitted by the company.'

"According to the EPA announcement, 'EPA's audit testing occasionally uncovers
individual vehicles whose label values are incorrect and requires that the
manufacturer re-label the vehicle. This has happened twice since 2000. This is
the first time where a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer
have deviated so significantly.'

"As we wrote to President Obama in January, Hyundai's deceptive MPG estimates
has greatly disadvantaged American automakers, as well as the American
taxpayer, whose full faith and credit have financially sustained those
companies.

"We call upon you to hold hearings to give the American people more
information about the Hyundai-MPG scandal.

"Unbeknownst to most Americans, automakers self-test their vehicles to
determine the EPA MPG claim that appears on the EPA-mandated window sticker.
Elantra drivers alerted us to the fact that their MPG experience was very
different than the promised 'EPA' numbers."

The "40 Mile Per Gallon Elantra" was the centerpiece of a massive television,
print and radio advertising campaign aimed at convincing drivers that they
would save money with $4 per gallon gasoline, when in fact drivers were
routinely getting ten miles per gallon less than advertised. Hyundai widely
advertised and promoted its four vehicles that received 40 miles per gallon --
the Elantra, Sonata Hybrid, Accent and Veloster – but all were reported by the
EPA as having falsified MPG estimates on their window stickers.

"We urge you to hold hearings in order to ascertain how Hyundai arrived at its
'40 Mile Per Gallon' claims and whether the South Korean company's business
strategy led to falsified mileage estimates submitted to the EPA and incorrect
window stickers. The consequence of the incorrect window stickers has been a
loss in sales by American car manufacturers whose MPG window stickers have not
been found to be false and who played by the rules," continued the letter.

"We believe the companies' chief executive officers should be put under oath
and documents related to the testing should be subpoenaed in an effort to
understand the cause of the false mileage estimates and window stickers. The
false testing that led to the conveniently round "40 mile per gallon" numbers
on the window stickers of four vehicles is very likely to have its roots in a
marketing decision at the highest levels of the company. Hyundai/Kia drivers
and the American people deserve to know the truth and have those involved
answer questions on the matter."

Consumer Watchdog is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group. More
information is available at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org or through the new
Consumer Watchdog iPhone and iPad app at
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/consumer-watchdog-mobile/id566454984?ls=1&mt=8#

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

Website: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org
Contact: Jamie Court, +1-310-392-0075, or Carmen Balber, +1-202-629-3043
 
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