Hyundai and Kia Compensate Auto Loan Customers with Prepaid Debit Cards for False MPG Claims

Posted in Auto Loans • January 8, 2013

Hyundai VelosterIn the past couple of years, Hyundai and Kia have risen in the ranks as a contender against car brands like Toyota and Honda, which have held the economy-brand throne for decades. Not only do consumers enjoy affordable auto financing with most models often priced at under $20,000 MSRP, but vehicles from both Hyundai and Kia, under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella, boast 40 MPG claims.

That is, until the car manufacturer was found to have overstated its mileage reports — which were the brands’ leading selling point during 2012 when gasoline prices skyrocketed. With Hyundai’s “miscalculations” exposed, Hyundai and Kia car owners are being offered Hyundai’s prepaid debit cards to recover gas mileage compensation reimbursements as a result of the error.

Hyundai and Kia Fail Mileage Claim Tests

In addition its favorable price range, the mileage claim showcased on multiple Hyundai and Kia models pushed new car buyers to spend thousands of dollars on a car, based on false pretenses.

“It’s worth noting that automakers mostly self-certify their cars. Then the EPA spot-checks about 15 percent of them with its own tests in a lab,” shares Consumer Reports. To the misfortune of Hyundai and Kia, they were among the 15 percent chosen for verification.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) audit report revealed that fuel economy levels were inflated by about one to two miles per gallon, according to the agency’s results.

An estimated 900,000 vehicles are included in the mileage claim discrepancy, which is 35 percent of the  2011-13 Hyundai and Kia vehicles sold through October 31, 2012.

Vehicles affected in the mileage claim downgrade include:

2011 Model Year 2012 Model Year 2013 Model Year
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Accent Hyundai Accent
Hyundai Sonata HEV Hyundai Azera Hyundai Azera
Kia Optima HEV Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Elantra (incl. coupe and GT versions)
Hyundai Genesis Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai Sonata HEV Hyundai Santa Fe (2WD and 4WD)
Hyundai Tucson (and 4WD version) Hyundai Tucson (2WD and 4WD)
Hyundai Veloster Hyundai Veloster (and Turbo version)
Kia Rio Kia Rio
Kia Sorento Kia Sorento
Kia Soul (and ECO version) Kia Soul (and ECO version)
Kia Sportage Kia Sportage
Kia Optima HEV
The fuel rating misreporting was a result of errors when performing “coastdown” testing at the manufacturer’s Korea-based testing facility. Coastdown testing incorporates factors such as “aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses” —  all of which contribute to calculating fuel economy ratings.

Presently, Hyundai and Kia have voluntarily updated the fuel economy mileage label on all existing vehicles in dealerships across the country. For auto loan borrowers who are currently tied to their vehicles, the companies have instated a gas mileage compensation program to compensate drivers for the rating deduction.

Auto Manufacturer Issues Prepaid Debit Cards

Hyundai and Kia companies both issued prepaid debt cards to previous and current car owners who filed a mileage claim. The reimbursement program reimburses drivers for the error, based on the model’s specific rating discrepancy, how many miles the vehicle had upon purchase compared to the number of miles put on the car since, and the average cost of gasoline in the area.

President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, John Krafcik, issued a press release statement regarding the issue, stating “Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we’re extremely sorry about these errors. When we say to Hyundai owners, ‘We’ve got your back,’ that’s an assurance we don’t take lightly. We’re going to make this right for everyone.”

As an act of good-faith, the companies will also calculate in an additional 15 percent of the reimbursement as a bonus to customers. The same formula is used for individuals who once owned, but have since sold their vehicles.

The more impressive part of the gas mileage compensation program is that it’s an ongoing program for as long as the driver owns the car, not just a one-time reimbursement. Meaning significant savings for borrowers looking for ways to save money on the cost of car ownership.

How to Submit Mileage Claim

The MPG overestimation is an unfortunate reality for individuals trying to avoid the rising gas prices. Even so, the mileage claim offer from Hyundai and Kia are a reasonable solution to the issue. Each website has erected a dedicated website specifically for the program ( and, which outline vehicle qualifications for the program, explain how to register vehicles and provide downloadable forms necessary for car owners to obtain their gas mileage compensation.

Before customers are given their prepaid debit cards, they must first verify their current mileage at an authorized Hyundai or Kia dealership. Once this step is completed, claimants send their preliminary paperwork to Hyundai or Kia for review. Owners are sent repaid debit cards within 120 days upon completion of the review.

From personal experience, the process took far less time to see a turnaround. The entire process to get my first reimbursement spanned about 30 days from the time  initiated my request to actually receiving my debit card.

The funds obtained can be used anywhere that accepts MasterCard, just like a traditional debit card. In my case, I used my $120 refund for smaller purchases at restaurants, and at times, gasoline. Every time I go into my local dealership for service, I have them update Hyundai’s mileage debit card program of my new mileage count for future reimbursements.

While remedy still leave some car buyers dissatisfied with the false mileage claim ratings, the compensation offered by Hyundai and Kia are a genuine effort at appeasing — and retaining — their current customers.

(Image: the KCB)

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