Gas mileage claims trouble Hyundai, SsangyongThe Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and two automakers found to have inflated gas mileage capacity on some vehicles upon a government inspection are once again at odds over how to notify consumers about the issue.
According to local media and industry sources, the Transport Ministry is considering slapping an administrative order on Hyundai Motor and Ssangyong Motor to take corrective action if they do not voluntarily alert clients by Friday about inflated gas mileage claims on some of their models.
The automakers, however, argue that they cannot accept the inspection results from the ministry, as they have not yet received any official documentation concerning consumer notification.
On June 26, the Transport Ministry announced its fuel-efficiency inspection results, which found that Hyundai’s Santa Fe DM 2WD and Ssangyong’s Korando Sports 4WD AT6 had overstated fuel mileages.
Under the law, automakers must notify car owners of vehicle defects via mail. They must also post related information in national media within 30 days from the time a problem is found.
The ministry claims the automakers should have been aware of the issue following its June 26 announcement, while the automakers insist that the 30-day process period should be counted from the day they receive official ministry documents.
Additionally, Hyundai and Ssangyong have both questioned the ministry’s claim that their cars’ gas mileages are inflated.
At a joint press conference last month, test results from the Transport Ministry and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy were contradictory, the companies said.
If the automakers refuse to follow the ministry’s orders, it can force a suspension on car sales, though the ministry said it was working closely with Hyundai and Ssangyong to avoid a worst-case scenario.
“We can count 30 days and issue an administrative order, but then the automakers can file a lawsuit, which will not help consumers,” a Transport Ministry official said. “In recalls, we cooperate with automakers to voluntarily recall defective vehicles, and we are taking similar steps here as well.”
BY JOO KYUNG-DON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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