Hyundai, Kia reach $41.2m settlement with multiple states

(AP Graphics)

DETROIT (AP) – South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. will pay $41.2 million to 33 states and the District of Columbia to settle an investigation into their fuel economy ratings.

The fine is the latest in the ongoing fallout from misstated mileage numbers on more than 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S.

In 2012, Hyundai and Kia restated the mileage on one-quarter of their 2011-2013 model year vehicles after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency questioned their mileage numbers. The companies deny they violated the law, and instead cite lack of clarity in EPA test procedures.

The companies paid $300 million in penalties to the U.S. government in 2014. They say they have also reimbursed around 75 percent of customers.

A class action lawsuit remains subject to an ongoing appeal.

The following is a press release from Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III:

Tennessee joins $41.2 million settlement with Hyundai, Kia over Fuel Economy Claims

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, along with the Division of Consumer Affairs, today announced Tennessee will receive more than $965,000 as part of a $41.2 million multi-state settlement with Hyundai and Kia. The agreement resolves claims that the automakers misrepresented mileage and fuel economy ratings for some of their model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles.

The settlement, reached between attorneys general in 33 states and the District of Columbia and the Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, and Kia Motors America, concludes a multi-state investigation into the companies’ fuel economy estimates during a period of especially high gasoline prices.

“When buying a car, consumers should expect honest information from automakers,” Attorney General Slatery said. “If a company intentionally misleads consumers and violates the law, they deserve to be punished.”

In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia announced they were adjusting and restating fuel economy ratings for certain model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles after it was revealed the companies had overstated the fuel efficiency of certain vehicles.

The states allege Hyundai and Kia used inflated and inaccurate data in estimated mileage ratings displayed on window stickers of hundreds of thousands of cars nationwide. The states also allege the companies sought to capitalize on erroneous mileage estimates by placing them prominently in advertisements and other promotional campaigns.

The states allege these actions were an attempt to mislead and persuade consumers to purchase particular vehicles during a time of high gasoline prices. The attorneys general allege the automakers’ violated state consumer protection laws, including the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.

“We applaud the work done by Attorney General Slatery and his team on behalf of Tennessee consumers,” said Consumer Protection Director Cynthia Wiel.

In addition to Tennessee, the multistate group – led by Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois – includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

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