Kyle Johnson

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

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

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.