Hyundai Accused Of ‘Misleading’ Ad

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The Super Bowl may have been played and won, but the games go on — with a US buyer’s group now claiming a last-minute touchdown against car making giant Hyundai’s Super Bowl advertising.

North American advocacy group Consumer Watchdog says it has forced the South Korean car maker to do a U-turn on game-day advertising for its Elantra small sedan, which lauded the car’s 40mpg (5.8L/100km) fuel use rating.

However, Consumer Watchdog pulled up the car maker for spruiking the car’s much lower highway fuel use claim in advertising leading up to Super Bowl, rather than its 29mpg (8.1L/100km) city or  33mpg (7.1L/100km) combined claim.

It says when the Elantra ad played during Super Bowl this week, no reference was made to the car’s fuel use figures, giving it – and not Hyundai – the win.

According to the consumer group, the extra fuel use Elantra owners would cop in the real world – if they thought they would get the 40mpg figure – would be the equivalent of driving 2500km over a 12 month period.

‘‘Consumers who increasingly buy cars on the basis of high miles per gallon — then can't get close to the posted figure — are justifiably angry,’’ Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog president, said in a statement announcing Hyundai’s back-down on the fuel rating claim.

’’Hyundai's omission of its touted '40mpg' claim in its Super Bowl ads, after making a very big deal of it in earlier advertising, shows that the company is hearing the hoofbeats of consumer outrage.’’

However, Hyundai’s US division played down the consumer group’s claim.

‘‘The Super Bowl game-day ads on our Youtube channel reflect exactly what will run on Super Bowl Sunday,’’ the company wrote in response to the call to drop the 40mpg reference from advertising.

‘‘In no way were our Super Bowl ads influenced by any Consumer Watchdog claims, comments or statements.”

Fuel use claims have recently swung into the spotlight with a US Honda Civic Hybrid buyer last week being awarded almost $10,000 after alleging her vehicle did not live up the claim it would sip just 50mpg (4.7L/100km) in city driving.

The payout is much higher than the $200 Civic Hybrid owners were offered in a separate class action.

Honda has said it will appeal the Los Angeles Superior Court decision.

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