Hyundai says it overstated mileage for revamped Sonata sedan in publicity materials

SEOUL, South Korea – Hyundai Motor Co. said Monday it overstated the gas mileage of its revamped Sonata sedan in publicity material for the media.

South Korea’s largest automaker said it was a mistake that a tentative mileage figure from internal tests was included in a presentation to reporters.

The government Friday said the mileage of the upcoming Sonata was 12.1 kilometres per litre (28.4 miles per gallon) instead of the 12.6 kilometres per litre (29.6 mpg) Hyundai said on March 4.

In 2012, Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. were found to have overstated gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. They agreed to pay up to $395 million to consumers as part of a settlement. Then Hyundai blamed procedural errors.

Hyundai vice-president Hwang Chung-yul had touted the new family sedan’s fuel economy, saying it was a 6 per cent improvement from its predecessor’s 11.9 kilometres, or 28 miles.

Hyundai said the mistake resulted from its effort to emphasize the improved fuel economy of the new Sonata, even though it was heavier than the previous model. It apologized in an emailed statement for not being more prudent.

Hyundai began receiving pre-orders for the revamped Sonata earlier this month. It is scheduled to go on sale in South Korea later this month.