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Published on Sat, Aug 21, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2011 Hyundai Sonata

Has anybody noticed that Hyundai is on a roll right now? Not content with being the most fuel-efficient carmaker for the past two years, Hyundai Motor American exhibited some gonads when it announced this week its plans to achieve a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rating of at least 50 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025 for its lineup of passenger cars and light duty trucks. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations require automakers to achieve a CAFE rating of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Before those rules were enacted last year under the Obama administration, Hyundai had already announced its own plan to reach 35 mpg by 2015. Hyundai’s announcement of that it aims to deliver a minimum 50 mpg CAFE rating by 2025 may be hype, but, so far, no one else is making that statement. “We’re committed to setting the pace in this industry on fuel economy, and we’re inspired by the possibilities that our advanced Blue Drive technologies afford,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. “Getting to 50 mpg and beyond seems like a huge leap, but by making this commitment and aligning our R&D initiatives now, we know we can get there.” We shall see. Hyundai had already raised some eyebrows when its new 2011 Hyundai Sonata achieved an astonishing EPA highway rating of 35 mpg. To put this into perspective, Lexus’ hybrid-electric version of the Prius, the HS 250h, has an EPA rating of 35 in the city and 34 on the highway. Yes, the combined rating beats the Sonata, but remember—the 35 mpg Sonata is a pure internal combustion engine vehicle (Hyundai will be introducing a hybrid version of the Sonata this fall). “This is our simple formula for success in the automobile industry,” said Krafcik. “Rather than fighting fuel economy regulation, we encourage our Hyundai engineers to deliver more fuel efficiency, faster, accelerating the benefits to our customers, society, and the planet.” Remember those years when automakers fought tooth and nail in protest of the CAFE standards? It wasn’t that long ago. How times have changed. Hyundai, in fact, would like to point out that since becoming the fuel economy leader in the 2008 model year, its market share went up more than 50 percent. - Roy Nakano Hyundai topped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy report for the 2008 model year. The EPA 2009 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report indicates that Hyundai had the highest 2008 model year laboratory 55/45 fuel economy at 30.9 mpg. The projected data for the 2009 model year shows Hyundai retaining its edge. Here’s how the EPA fuel economy report stacked up for 2008: EPA Lab 55/45* Manufacturer** Overall miles per gallon (cars and trucks) 1. Hyundai - 30.9 2. Honda - 30.1 3. Toyota – 29 4. Kia - 28.8 5. Volkswagen - 27.9 6. Nissan - 27.6 7. BMW - 26.3 8. Ford - 24.5 9. General Motors - 24.4 10. Chrysler - 24.2 * From EPA Table A-7 2009 Trends Report (Appendix A) **Includes ten highest-volume manufacturers. Based on sales projections for the ten highest volume manufacturers. EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975-2009 Report. Honda includes combined Honda and Acura brands. Hyundai excludes Kia brand.

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