Pot Calls Kettle Black? Honda's Mendel Calls Out Auto Industry for Inflating MPG Numbers

By Jacob Brown | January 17, 2013
Top brass at American Honda called out automakers for inflating their fuel economy numbers this week, which strikes us as a little hypocritical. At the Automotive News World Congress, executive vice president John Mendel said, "Aggressive fuel-economy claims that turned out to be not so accurate puts pressure on all of us. Competitive pressure should never let us betray the trust of our customers." Without naming names, the automakers that immediately come to mind in the discussion of fuel economy figures are Hyundai and Kia--both of which had to lower fuel economy numbers after an EPA investigation--and Ford, whose federal investigation is ongoing with its 47-mpg claim for both the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford C-Max. Most drivers are seeing fuel economy numbers in the high 30s and low 40s. All of them are now facing individual and class-action lawsuits.
None of the three automakers had anything to add on the subject outside of their official statements. In an interview with Automotive News, Hyundai's spokesman Chris Hosford simply said, "Mr. Mendel is welcome to his opinions." What's curious about this is that Honda is no stranger to fuel economy scandals, either. In 2012, Honda faced a small claims lawsuit that made national news after litigant Heather Peters alleged that Honda inflated fuel economy numbers to sell its Civic Hybrid sedan. She eventually lost in appeals court, but her case was not without merit: Honda concurrently faced a class-action suit in which it ended up giving each Honda Civic Hybrid owner in the suit a small amount of money and a voucher worth up to $1,500 towards the purchase of a new car. Honda has said in the past that its cars will consistently meet or exceed EPA fuel economy projections. Its next challenge will come by way of the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid and Plug-In, which will both exceed 46 mpg combined. That number lags behind the rated 47 mpg of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, but there's a good chance that the Ford will also get downgraded in the coming months, making the Honda the mpg champ by at least 3 mpg in the segment. Or, as rumors suggest, the EPA is getting ready to change its own testing procedures. We'll keep you updated as fuel economy talks continue. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)