Kyle Johnson

Hyundai Bloats 2015 Sonata Fuel Efficiency, Didn’t Learn the First Time

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It's like being caught with your finger in your nose, except the last time you did it, it cost you almost $400 million.

Today’s news that Hyundai overstated their original projections for 2015 Sonata fuel efficiency figures reminds me of a student I once had. Back when I was teaching in Korea, I was tasked with trying to educate an adorable little dude by the name of Dennis. And, boy, was it ever a task.

2015 Sonata Fuel Efficiency

That’s Dennis looking somewhat oblivious in yellow. I’m the drawing of Stephen King on the whiteboard.

Dennis was a sweet, well-mannered, and particularly well-dressed child (seriously, the kid wore coats that cost as much as entire ensembles I’d wear into the classroom), but he wasn’t what I’d call…well…bright. More often than not, I’d have to stop my lectures to retrieve him from his most recent trip to a place I liked to call “Planet Dennis.” My co-teacher and I used to narrate all of the adventures we supposed Dennis was off having in his head (“Right now, he’s sliding down a hill made entirely out of chocolate”). Six-year-olds aren’t known for having great attention spans, but Dennis made my other students look like they were ready to take on Kafka.

And that's saying a lot considering I also taught this child.

And that’s saying a lot considering I also taught this child.

On one particular occasion, I caught him picking his nose—as he was wont to do, because, ya know, six years old and all—and told him to knock it off for the umpteenth time.

“Use a tissue, Dennis. That is gross.”

He nodded sheepishly, maybe a little embarrassed, and said, “Sorry, teacher. Yes, teacher.”

I hadn’t even turned my head to glance back at the white board when I saw it. Dennis looking left. Dennis looking right. Dennis slowly raising that brave finger back up toward the providence that was his nostril.

I think it was about that time that I lost my mind. Dennis spent the rest of the day with a tissue box on his desk.

Today, Korea’s own Hyundai is apologizing like a child with their finger caught up their nose, and just like sweet little Dennis, they’ve got a history of picking.

Hyundai admitted Monday that they overstated the projections for 2015 Sonata fuel efficiency  in a March 4 statement. Hyundai officials stated that the new Sonata would achieve 12.6 km/l (29.6 mpg), but Korean government officials tested the sedan at 12.1 km/l (28.6 mpg).

2015 Sonata Fuel Efficiency

…and it’s all been a pack of lies!

According to Wall Street Journal, the error is being attributed to tentative testing figures and something tantamount to overexcitement.

“We gave out a tentative figure we got from an internal test. The mistake resulted from our effort to emphasize the improved fuel economy of the new Sonata, even though it was heavier than the previous model,” Hyundai told WSJ.

“We deeply regret our imprudence. We once again ask for your understanding and promise to do our best to provide correct information going forward.”

What I’m seeing here: “Sorry, teacher. Yes, teacher.”

Of course, Hyundai has previously found themselves in hot water for overstating fuel economy figures. In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia admitted that 900,000 2011-2013 vehicles sold in the U.S. had jumped-up fuel economy figures. You’d think that the $395 million payout they made to customers in a settlement might ward them off from the whole fibbing about efficiency thing, but nope.

2015 Sonata Fuel Efficiency

Hi, I’m the 2012 Elantra. Remember when I lied to you? Good times, man. Good times.

While 2015 Sonata fuel efficiency numbers are an improvement over the previous model’s figures (11.9 km/l, or 28 miles per gallon), the difference is nominal, especially when compared to Hyundai VP Hwang Chung-yul’s boast of a 6 percent increase. Perhaps he was off visiting Planet Dennis when he made those projections.

Perhaps Hyundai just needs a tissue box on its desk from here on out. Bad form, Hyundai. Bad form.

  • Kyle JohnsonEditor

    Kyle S. Johnson lives in Cincinnati, a city known by many as "the Cincinnati of Southwest Ohio." He enjoys professional wrestling, Halloween, and also other things. He has been writing for a while, and he plans to continue to write well into the future. See more articles by Kyle.

  • Mingo Falls

    Cool story all around. It’s great to be Dennis.

  • Paul

    Um no it’s not an embarrassment, its a lie. Hyundai is apt to lie. Hyundai lies. Repeatedly. They have not just done so in the past regarding mileage, but also regarding horsepower. My 2000 Sonata and many other Santa Fe’s and other models with their 2.4L 4-cyl were claimed to achieve 149 HP. Not so. Years later the Korean and Canadian governments discovered Hyundai simply lied and the cars got much lower HP. Hyundai then got sued, including by me. We settled, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth about the company. And FYI its 2014, and there is no reason they cant legitimately push the Sonata to over 40 MPG like the Cruze Eco and other manufacturers’ higher mileage sedans without having to lie. It’s called engineering. Tsk tsk.

  • Nathan

    Except Hyundai never really needed to apologize the first time because actual owners of Hyundais never had issues with fuel economy. They were all puzzled because they weren’t able to reproduce these low-mileage claims. Even all my acquaintances who own Hyundais said they get advertised or even better fuel economy.

    It was a third party organization acting on their own that used only a few anomalous cases to spearhead a smear-campaign.

    And this current case is Hyundai, on their own, correcting an error……an error that’s less than 1kpg.

  • Nathan

    So no, it’s not a lie, it’s not even an embarrassment.
    Especially when so many car manufacturers fudge EPA numbers, not just Hyundai.

    What would be closer to a lie is Ford mis-stating milage figures for several of their cars by more than 5-7mpg.