|Hyundai's action affects 13
lines of cars and sport-utility vehicles sold from the 1996 through 2002 model
years in which the company overstated the horsepower by 4 percent or more in
advertising, brochures and product information distributed to the media.
Among the 400,000 vehicles are some of Hyundai's best-selling
models, including the 2001-2002 Santa Fe SUV with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder
engine or 2.7-liter V-6.
The company advertised that the 2.4-liter produced 149 horsepower, 8
percent more than the actual 138. On the 2.7-liter V-6, Hyundai claimed
the horsepower was 181, 4.6 percent more than the actual 173.
The greatest discrepancy was on the 2-liter 4-cylinder engine used in the
1997-98 Sonata. Hyundai advertised it had 137 horsepower, 9.6 percent
more than the actual figure of 125.
Hyundai discovered the discrepancies after the Canadian government
questioned the horsepower on the Elantra, a compact car. Hyundai billed
it as 140, but lowered the rating to 135 after re-evaluating the engine.
"I am very regretful for these errors and for any concerns it raises
among Hyundai customers," Chief Executive Finbarr O'Neill said in a
statement. "We are taking aggressive measures to prevent errors of this nature
from happening again."
The company said the errors do not effect performance or reliability.
In some cases, the Korean-based automaker used horsepower figures
obtained in preliminary tests; in others, adding the emissions equipment
required in North America reduced the power ratings.
Hyundai overstated the horsepower on another 800,000 vehicles sold
from 1992 to 2002 by less than 4 percent, which the company said was within
normal manufacturing variances. Owners of those models are not being
Owners of affected vehicles from the 1999 model year and earlier will
receive five years of free roadside assistance.
Owners of 2000 model year and newer vehicles will have three options:
Extend their roadside assistance benefit to 10 years from five, extend the basic
warranty to six years/72,000 miles from five years/60,000 miles or extend the
powertrain warranty to 12 years/120,000 miles from 10 years/100,000 miles.
More information is available at www.hyundaistatus.com or
800-218-9797.Kia, which is owned by Hyundai, will offer owners of
2001-2002 Optima sedans similar compensation. The Optima uses the same engines
as the Sonata.
Hyundai is not alone in overstating horsepower. Jaguar recently
touted its 2003 S-Type R as having 400 horsepower, but that was according to the
European measurement. After using the U.S. standard set by the Society of
Automotive Engineers, Jaguar reduced its horsepower claim to 388.
Mazda advertised that its 2001 Miata roadster produced 155 horsepower, 15
more than the 200 version, but later said it had only 142. Ford recalled the
1999 Mustang Cobra SVT after owners complained its V-8 engine produced less than
the advertised 320 horsepower.
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