by Phil Edmonston

Horsepower is one of the primary reasons why people choose one vehicle over another when they go shopping. Now we learn that Hyundai has been systematically lying to its customers from 1992 to 2002 in falsely stating horsepower ratings for its entire lineup of vehicles.

I believe Hyundai makes some good cars, but its ethics stink! There is no way the company will ever convince me their 10-year charade was an oversight. Look at the facts: 1.3 million vehicles advertised with false horsepower ratings – the worst case is 1997 to 1998 Sonatas with actual horsepower of 125, but a published number of 137, a 9.6% falsehood. When caught by Canadian regulators, Hyundai said false ratings were an “oversight”

Now that the jig is up, Hyundai is offering owners an extended warranty or road aid if the false rating tops 4%. Who are their advisors, Enron or Tyco?

Hyundai should give owners the choice of taking their cars back for a 100% refund and give them a cash settlement equal to the percentage of the false horsepower claim. For example, a 4% exaggeration on a $10,000 car would result in a $400 refund. A $20,000 Sonata with a 9% falsehood would be eligible to receive an $1,800 refund.

Hyundai has to do more. If Hyundai doesn’t act quickly, the courts will. Already the lawyers are circling in the water.

Consumer advocate Phil Edmonston is publisher of the LemonAid series of books, and a former Member of Parliament. He can be reached at

The opinions of the author do not necessarily represent those of the editors and publisher of or Autos Communications Inc.

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