At least that's what the Union of Concerned Scientists announced. In a press release, the group said, "Using the adjusted, most up-to-date information on Hyundai-Kia’s vehicles after the automaker had to revise its performance data with the U.S. EPA, the findings show that the automaker came out in first place thanks to a concerted effort to improve the green performance of its fleet by turbocharging and downsizing engines in a number of its models while also introducing hybrid-electric versions of two of its top-selling vehicles, the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.
Hyundai Spokesman Jim Trainor told TorqueNews.com, "It’s nice to be recognized for all our efforts, including our Sonata Hybrid model and the first mass-produced, retail Tucson FCEV that will be delivered next week." The Union of Concerned Scientists added, "This report marks the first time another company has bested Honda, which came in second this year but has earned every “Greenest Automaker” previous accolade from UCS since 1998." So that's a 15-year streak down the drain.
“Honda continues to lead the way in many vehicle classes, but it’s started to lag the industry average in its midsize fleet—which includes its best-selling Accord, and accounts for a quarter of the company’s sales,” said Dave Cooke, a vehicles analyst in the Clean Vehicles Program and the author of the Automaker Rankings report. “As Hyundai-Kia works to further improve fuel economy and electrify its fleet, Honda will need to step up its game if it wants to take back the crown.”
What does this accolade mean for Hyundai/Kia? Massive bragging rights at the very least. Look for this message to be incorporated into some advertising in the near future. Kermit the Frog may have warbled, "It's not easy being green" but Hyundai disagrees.