Hyundai Motors America is poking fun at rivals “needless abuse” of asterisks when carmakers list fuel economy in a new effort on social media. The automaker posted a video, themed “Save the Asterisks” on YouTube.com and is directing people to the video there via its Twitter page. The minute-plus-long video bemoans other carmakers overusing asterisks and confusing people when listing EPA-certified fuel-economy ratings since only certain versions of the same a model may get eye-popping mpg. “Asterisks are not a renewable resource,” and at the current rate of the industry’s use of them, they are in danger of becoming extinct,” says the video.

The main goal of the push is to inform people that every version of the 2011 Elantra has been certified by the EPA for 40 miles to the gallon on the highway, so Hyundai doesn’t need asterisks, Dan Bedore, a spokesman for Hyundai, told AutoTrader.com. He said the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Cruze have special, fuel-economy models, but they are either priced higher than the base model or likely won’t sell in very high volumes.

The all-new, fifth-generation Elantra compact sedan starts at $14,830 for the GLS Standard model, which includes the $720 delivery and freight charges, and tops out with the Limited Premium version at $21,980.

Hyundai started to release sales of 40-mpg vehicles for the first time when it recently reported its monthly November U.S. sales. The automaker said it sold 192 of the new Elantras last month. The 2011 Elantra is the only model in Hyundai’s current lineup that fits in that category.

But there’s more coming, including the upcoming 2011 Accent plus the new small car, the Veloster, which will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, Bedore said.

John Krafcik, president-CEO at Hyundai Motor America, said the Elantra is the first of four 40-mpg models planned for the lineup. “We aim to lead the industry in the sales of 40-mpg vehicles, and to make this a challenge that everyone can follow,” said Krafcik when reporting the November sales and Hyundai’s new tally of 40-mph vehicles.

Separately, Hyundai tapped San Francisco-area duo Pomplamoose for their holiday ad campaign. Artists’ Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn recorded three well-known holiday songs for the trio of new television and radio commercials offering year-end deals on Hyundai models. They can be seen on Hyundai’s YouTube channel, but also getting buzz on Facebook and Twitter.

In just over two weeks since the ads started through Dec. 2, Hyundai has gotten 200,000 views of the commercials on its YouTube page, an undisclosed amount of buzz of Twitter and hundreds of pages of comments on the group’s site, according to Hyundai’s in-house ad agency, Innocean in Huntington Beach, California.

“Traditional holiday campaigns are like wallpaper,” so Hyundai asked Innocean for something that would stand out, Krafcik said. “Pomplamoose intrigued us from the onset, and we’re delighted by the distinct, fresh sound they add to our creative.”

The ads, and the deals, run through Jan. 3.

author photo

Jean Halliday is a seasoned journalist with the nation's longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean's blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.

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