GM has told its US dealerships to stop selling 2016 model-year large crossovers while it replaces Monroney stickers that show incorrect fuel economy ratings, according to a huge Automotive News [sub] scoop. The stop-sale documents obtained by AN call the mislabeling an “inadvertent error,” and a GM spokesman tells them “an ‘inadvertent data transmission’ was responsible for the mistake.” This excuse would be thin under any circumstances, but two factors make it seem especially implausible. The first is the timing: GM was just caught using an apparent “defeat device” in Europe after months of allegations of emissions cheating. The second is the nature of the misprint: the incorrect ratings were just 1-2 MPG better than the correct numbers, strongly indicating GM was trying to get away with slightly too-good-to-be-true numbers.
But there’s even more direct evidence that GM’s “misprint” story isn’t true: a Daily Kanban review of the EPA website using the archive.org Wayback Machine shows that those (higher) incorrect numbers were displayed on the EPA website before being changed sometime this year. In other words, the fuel economy ratings that GM says were a “misprint” were submitted to the EPA and listed as the official rating before being changed to the new, lower rating.
Here we can see the Wayback Machine’s January 23 snapshot of the EPA website for the same Buick Enclave AWD, and it lists the higher 22 highway, 16 city, 18 combined rating that GM says was a “misprint” that it caught while putting together the Monroney sticker for the 2017 model-year. Because the Wayback Machine only has limited snapshots of the EPA website, we’re not able to pin down when the “misprint” numbers were taken down from the EPA website and replaced with the new, lower numbers. Still, it’s clear that the EPA changed the numbers, either independently or at GM’s request, and yet has not brought the issue to the public’s attention. Moreover, it pretty clearly demonstrates that GM’s story about a “misprint” and “inadvertent data transmission” simply can’t be true.
But don’t take our word for it, check for yourself:
2016 Enclave FWD: 15 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 18 MPG Combined
2016 Enclave AWD: 15 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 17 MPG Combined.
2016 Enclave FWD: 17 MPG City, 24 MPG Highway, 19 MPG Combined
2016 Enclave AWD: 16 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 18 MPG Combined.
2016 GMC Acadia FWD: 15 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 18 MPG Combined
2016 GMC Acadia AWD: 15 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 17 MPG Combined.
2016 GMC Acadia FWD: 17 MPG City, 24 MPG Highway, 19 MPG Combined
2016 GMC Acadia AWD: 16 MPG City, 23 MPG Highway, 19 MPG Combined
2016 Traverse FWD: 15 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 18 MPG Combined
2016 Traverse AWD: 15 MPG City, 22 MPG Highway, 17 MPG Combined.
2016 Traverse FWD: 17 MPG City, 24 MPG Highway, 19 MPG Combined
2016 Traverse AWD: 16 MPG City, 23 MPG Highway, 19 MPG.