BMW drops mileage ratings
Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that BMW AG will reduce its fuel economy ratings on four 2014 Mini Cooper models — the latest automaker to be ordered by federal regulators to revise vehicle labels.
EPA performed a fuel economy audit at its testing center in Ann Arbor on the BMW Mini Cooper and found that the vehicles didn’t meet the same results BMW submitted.
BMW is reducing the combined fuel economy of the three-door manual transmission to 33 miles per gallon from 34 mpg, the three-door semi-automatic from 33 to 32, the Cooper S 3-door manual from 29 to 28 and the semi-automatic version from 31 to 30. The biggest fall is in the highway rating for the Cooper S 3-door manual will fall from 38 to 34 mpg.
“Fuel economy values matter to consumers and automakers,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “To provide consumers with the most accurate, reliable and repeatable fuel economy values, we are continuing to strengthen our oversight to ensure fair competition among automakers.”
Mini spokesman Rob Duda confirmed the changes and said they still deliver “outstanding fuel efficiency.”
The agency said BMW’s original estimate of vehicle road-load was lower than EPA’s measurements for this vehicle model.
“We are also going to be issuing guidance on coast-down testing later this year. We are also considering whether changes to our fuel economy testing regulations are warranted; if so, we will identify next steps next year. We are also encouraging manufacturers to conduct their own internal audits of their vehicles’ fuel economy,” EPA spokeswoman Christie St. Clair said.
She declined to say if any other automakers are under investigation.
Earlier this month, another German automaker Daimler AG agreed to lower the mpg ratings on two of its Mercedes-Benz vehicles after a government audit turned up a problem.
Mercedes-Benz will make minor changes to two models. It will reduce the city mpg figure for the 2013-14 C300 to 19 mpg from 20 mpg, but the combined 22 mpg and 27 mpg highway value will remain the same. For the 2013-14 4-Matic PZEV the combined mpg fell to 22 mpg from 23 mpg, while the city and highway mpg figures both fell by 1 mpg to 19 and 28, respectively.
Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Donna Boland said “as a German company, we place a high value on precision, even if we miss the mark once in a while.”
In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia Motors admitted overstating mileage on nearly 1.1 million vehicles in North America sold since 2010, including about 900,000 in the United States. The automakers set aside about $400 million to compensate drivers for the mileage difference and to resolve lawsuits filed by buyers. The investigation is still ongoing.
In June, Ford Motor Co. said it is lowering the fuel ratings on six new cars and would make payments of $125 to $1,050 to more than 200,000 owners. . Those checks began arriving at consumers’ homes in the last month, owners say.
EPA said Ford reported the mistakes after an internal audit. Ford will lower fuel-efficiency estimates on four versions of the 2014 Fiesta subcompact; the hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid versions of the 2013 and 2014 Fusion midsize sedan; the C-Max Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid version; and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.
The move was a significant embarrassment to Ford, which has emphasized the fuel efficiency of vehicles in its lineup. And it’s the second time in a year that Ford has had to correct its mileage numbers.