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Hyundai’s MPG woes may not be over, but sales have been completely unaffected

After the beating Toyota’s sales took following the unintended acceleration accusations of a couple years ago, it was expected that Hyundai and Kia would suffer in a similar fashion after the news of inflated MPG claims broke. But it seems that this is far from the case, as Hyundai now reports that they just had the best November of sales in the US yet, and that 2012 will close as their best sales year of all time. New additions to Elantra lineup gave the car a boost of 28 percent increased sales, and the Sonata also saw a big uptick.

This comes as good news to the company, where settlements over the MPG are expected to cost them $100 million annually, according to AutoGuide. Perhaps motivated by the fact that Hyundai will be able deal with this setback relatively easily, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has sent a letter to Hyundai warning that the company might face congressional hearings, according to a report in AutoGuide. Rockefeller’s concern is that the inflated figures were used to attract customers who otherwise would have bought cars elsewhere. He issued a statement saying “I will monitor the results of the EPA’s ongoing investigation to better understand how this error occurred, how Hyundai and Kia may have used inflated fuel economy numbers to attract consumers, and how federal enforcement agencies can better deter similar violations in the future.”

It most certainly is important for customers to be told the truth, and it’s always good to see that the Senate Commerce Committee is taking this responsibility seriously. But if sales haven’t slowed, and in fact have picked up, since the news that MPG figures were inflated, were they really playing such an important role in customers’ decisions to buy a Hyundai? And if they were so unimportant, is another penalty on top of the substantial financial cost of the settlement really necessary? Make yourself heard in the comment section.