Hyundai and Kia's recent EPA mileage overstating scandal has attracted sharp criticism from one top Honda Motor Co. U.S. executive.

John Mendel, executive vice president of Honda's U.S. car sales, feels the Korean duo betrayed the trust of customers under competitive pressure.

Mendel told industry representatives during the Automotive News World Congress that the industry's reputation is at stake, reports The Detroit News.

"We have to be mindful that the actions we take reflect on the industry as a whole — how something that happens to one of us can undermine public trust in all of us," he said.

His words carry particular weight at the moment, as Ford is also being investigated by the EPA over claims its recent hybrids aren't able to attain their EPA ratings in day-to-day driving.

Even Honda itself hasn't been immune in the past, over one owner's claims her 2006 Civic Hybrid couldn't achieve its official fuel economy figures.

While several factors have been at play in each case, Hyundai and Kia quickly took action, announcing the reimbursement of 1.1 million owners in North America for losses from overstated gas mileage.

It's expected to cost the two companies more than $100 million, and has almost certainly tarnished both makers' gas-sipping reputations in the U.S.

Mendel says Hyundai and Kia's previously high EPA sticker ratings did put pressure on Honda and its peers, but says he's more worried about the public's perception of the industry following such events--noting that the industry doesn't rank "tremendously high" among customers, in terms of trust.

Does John Mendel have a point? And do you trust the car industry when it comes to fuel economy figures? Let us know below.


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