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August 23, 2012 / Corina Valderrama

Hyundai Sued Over Misleading MPG

Hyundai Elantra buyer Louis Birdh as filed a lawsuit against Hyundai Motor America claiming that the automaker advertised its 40-mile-per-gallon Elantra without a government-mandated disclosure that the estimate is for highway driving only and that other measures are much lower. The lawsuit is the second of its kind filed recently against automakers and highlights the aggressive use of mileage numbers by manufacturers in advertising vehicles.

Bird purchased his Elantra last year and kept a mileage log. Even though Bird said that most of his driving is on open highways, he claims to barely get 29 MPG. The lawsuit seeks class action status and asks for unspecified damages on behalf of California residents who bought or leased 2010 and 2011 Elantras.

The lawsuit also wants to stop Hyundai from using gas mileage numbers in its advertising of the Elantra without government-mandated disclosures. Hyundai has defended the MPG estimate, saying it was certified by the Environmental Protection Agency, which publishes fuel economy ratings for all vehicles sold in the U.S.

EPA tests, however, have been criticized for failing to provide realistic predictions of MPG mostly because the tests are performed by professional drivers and tested inside laboratories on machines. An independent testing Consumer Reports magazine found that Elantra averaged 20 MPG in city driving and 39 MPG in highway driving, for an average of 29 MPG.

Automakers have recently shifted from marketing the performance of vehicles to marketing estimated mileage per gallon (“MPG”). As gas prices continue to rise,   a car’s MPG is an important factor for consumers making new purchases. Bird’s lawsuit underscores the growing consumer frustration over mileage claims that do not deliver as promised.

If you feel that you have been affected by false advertising claims, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a private consultation.

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