US consumers begin to avoid buying Hyundai and Kia cars after the automakers admitted overstating the fuel economy of some of their cars.
At the beginning of this month, Hyundai and Kia admitted they have overstated the fuel economy ratings at more than 1 million vehicles, recently sold in Canada and the US. This has tainted the companies’ reputation, as they mislead customers with marketing campaigns on superior mileage, and also made share prices fall sharply.
This month analysts predict sales of the Hyundai’s top-selling Elantra compact will drop 6.3% from 6.7% on October 28th. The Elantra is one of the falsely marketed models, among Hyundai’s Veloster and Accent and Kia’s Rio, which are also expected to see sales going down. Kia’s Soul will most likely fall 1.9% points to 7.3% from 9.2%, as the model’s fuel economy was overstated by 6 miles per gallon on highways.
“In the U.S., Hyundai in particular has made a media and consumer ‘talking point’ of the number of 40-miles-per-gallon vehicles it sells and how well it sells those models, so this development has been considerably embarrassing,” said Bill Visnic, a senior editor at Edmunds.com.
Although the automakers apologized on November 2nd and agreed to compensate owners for the extra fuel spending, the costs could be much higher than expected as customers will resort to lawsuits over against the false mileage claims.