Over the last three years, the three hottest brands in the U.
S. market have been Ford, Hyundai and Audi. Only Audi remains on an upward arc. Ford has stumbled on its MyFordTouch problems. And now Hyundai may find that its false-mileage mistakes will create more of a quagmire than it bargained for.
Already, Interbrand, the respected global brand-marketing research and consulting firm, is saying that Hyundai and Kia’s brand equity has been hurt by the fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the sibling Korean companies made false claims of 40 mpg — too high by 1 to 2 mpg — for six of their nameplates. And filing of a proposed federal class-action lawsuit has ensued quickly.