EPA Investigation Reveals Hyundai and Kia Overstated MPG Claims

Posted by sally on November 6th, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Hyundai and Kia will change the fuel economy estimates for most of their 2012 and 2013 vehicles. Consumer complaints prompted and EPA audit, which discovered that there were discrepancies between their test results and the information provided by the auto manufacturers. According to an EPA press release, “The mileage on most vehicle labels will be reduced by one to two mpg, and the largest adjustment will be six mpg for the Kia Soul.” The mileage estimates were overstated on over one million vehicles in North America.

The Detroit News reported that current and former owners of affected Hyundai and Kia models will receive debit cards with amounts commensurate with the extra gas money spent due to the actual lower gas mileage of the vehicles, plus 15 percent. According to the article, “Hyundai said a typical owner of a vehicle in Florida driving 15,000 miles a year could get an $88 refund this year, in addition to future refunds for as long as they own the car.”

If you own a late model Hyundai or Kia, you can visit the carmakers’ websites for more information: http://www.hyundaimpginfo.com and http://www.kiampginfo.com.

Approximately 161K 2007-08 Jeep Wranglers Recalled by Chrysler

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on November 23rd, 2009

Chrysler informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) that it is recalling about 161,000 Jeep Wranglers that were assembled without a transmission fluid temperature warning system. 2007-2008 Wranglers are affected by the recall. As reported in the New York Times, Chrysler expained the reason for the recall:

“Operating a vehicle under rigorous off-road conditions will cause the vehicle’s transmission fluid temperature to elevate…Continuous operation under such rigorous conditions may lead to a transmission failure.”

NHTSA’s press release, which can be found here, states that the remedy for affected owners is to bring their vehicle to dealers, who will

“…inspect and install a “hotoil” message in the instrument cluster and a chime indicating an elevated transmission fluid condition. The recall is expected to begin during December 2009.”

The lack of temperature warning system is potentially serious, and could even lead to an engine fire. Owners of recalled Jeeps should contact their dealers for more information.

Wobbling Ford Trucks Trigger Class Action Suit

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on October 7th, 2008

Southwest Florida’s Herald Tribune recently reported that the videotape documenting Sarasota County resident Greg Cramer’s shaking Ford F-250 pickup has spurred attorneys for three Floridians to instigate a class action lawsuit on behalf of 48,000 truck owners in Florida.

The Herald Tribune reports that Cramer’s suspension and steering wheel shimmy, which occurred when he hit a bump at speeds of more than 50 M.P.H., happened more than 60 times. Ford couldn’t fix the problem, and because Cramer bought the truck used, he couldn’t take advantage of the state’s Lemon Law. Instead, he’s suing on the basis that Ford didn’t honor the original warranty.

But there’s a larger issue at stake here. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received over 1,200 complaints about the same problem, and says that the wobble could affect as many as 520,000 trucks. The agency is investigating for a potential recall, although Ford clams that no recall is necessary. This underscores the importance of filing complaints with the NHTSA, which takes action when complaints about a problem with a make and model reach a certain threshold.

The kicker? According to the Herald Tribune, Cramer traded in his truck, but “he was told Ford intended to resell it.”

Is J.D. Power Redefining “Quality”?

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on September 18th, 2008

On the Motor Trend blog , Todd Lassa waxes poetic about J.D. Power and As  sociates’ top performing vehicles for 2008 (the ranking is based on the number of problems for every 100 vehicles). Todd reports that the top ten are Porsche, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes, Toyota, Mercury, Honda, Ford, Jaguar, and Audi.

Over at automotive.com’s blog, Joel Arellano used the same J.D. Powers and Associates data to jump on the Ford bandwagon, noting that the company improved more quickly than the industry average, and that Ford is the only manufacturer that’s shown steady improvement since 2004. He also exclaimed that three Ford models merited the highest rankings: Lincoln Navigator, Ford E-Series, and Mazda MX5 Miata.

That sounds all well and good, but Todd, Joel, and J.D. Power may have lost their bearings (if not their marbles). If Porsche is ranked number one, with “only” 87 problems per 100 vehicles, their definition of “quality” escapes me. Of course, the bottom-ranked manufacturer, Jeep, had almost twice as many (167 problems per 100 vehicles), but still…. 87 problems seems like about 87 too many. Do manufacturers (and those living in the rarefied air of J.D. Power and Associates) even live in the real world? If you’re putting out that much money for a Porsche (or a Jeep, for that matter), you have the right to expect that the vehicle is problem-free. Hey Todd and Joel, how about a zero tolerance policy?

Car Complaints Revisited: Numbers Six and Five

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 24th, 2008

We’ve talked about the Center for Auto Safety’s Car Complaint Index, which takes 2008 models and assigns a ratio that represents the number of vehicles sold and the number of complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So far, we’ve talked about numbers 10 (Volkswagen Passat), 9 (Volkswagen Rabbit), 8 (Jeep Wrangler), and 7 (Mitsubishi Outlander). Today, we’ll move on to the 2008 models that captured the sixth and fifth slots on the list of cars with the most complaints: the Jeep Commander and the Toyota Camry.

The Jeep Commander has an unenviable list of complaints, ranging from cracking windshields to under-acceleration to broken front axles. The vehicle has also been subjected to two recalls: the front brake calipers may have been made from the wrong material, causing them to fracture; and the front control module, causing stalling problems or windshield wiper malfunction. The Commander also has six Technical Service Bulletins.

As for the 2008 Toyota Camry, the complaints are too numerous to go into detail. Some owners have reported power train problems, while others have experienced speed control malfunctions. Leaking fuel plagued some owners, and many more reported visibility problems from windshield glare due to a design flaw. 

Stay tuned for the next cars ranked on the Complaint Index.