It was clear that Hyundai/Kia’s successful journey would continue and that it would be a key industry player for years to come.
But I also cautioned repeatedly that the upward trajectory of the Hyundai/Kia conglomerate would not continue as a rocket launch majestically arching into the cobalt sky, that they would make mistakes. It was inevitable and it’s just the way this business goes when human nature clashes with an arrogant bureaucracy and aggressive corporate goals.
And now that the EPA has forced Hyundai/Kia to reduce inflated mileage claims on 900,000 vehicles sold in the 2011-13 model years, we’re going to find out if the upward trajectory will be leveled off a bit, or if it will only be a slight vibration en route.
What I’m hoping happens here is that the car-buying public starts to get properly cynical about the EPA’s fuel-economy numbers, which are useful only for comparisons, not for budgeting your fuel costs. You’ll note that the EPA isn’t slapping them down because an Elantra (or whatever) won’t ever get 40 mpg on the highway; the slapdown comes because the EPA couldn’t duplicate the 40-mpg claim by Hyundai in its own lab.
And those numbers have nothing to do with the numbers used to calculate Corporate Average Fuel Economy, exactly the sort of convoluted scheme you’d expect from a government that wants to “encourage” the purchase of less-thirsty vehicles but doesn’t dare do it in an obvious way — say, by raising the gas tax.