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November 16, 2012 / Brandon Brouillette

Korean Automakers Hyundai and Kia Admit to Misrepresenting Fuel Economy Claims

On November 1, 2012, the EPA released the results of a study regarding the fuel economy standards of various 2012 and 2013 Kia and Hyundai models.  The study found the advertised fuel economy was inaccurately stated by from 1 to 6 MPG, with the Kia Soul being the biggest culprit, at 6 mpg.  The 2.0 L Soul Eco, which had an advertised 35 highway MPG will be adjusted to 29 MPG. In total, the EPA says Kia and Hyundai overstated the fuel economy of about 900,000 vehicles sold by the company.

Kia and Hyudai have already issued apologies to their customers, blaming “procedural errors” during a process called “coastdown” testing at the companies’ joint testing operations facility in Korea.  The companies already have reimbursement programs in place to issue debit cards to owners of cars, which will be an amount based on the fuel price in the region where they live and the amount of miles driven. In addition, each card will include a 15% bonus to make up for any inconvenience caused.  According to the Los Angeles Times, “someone who drove 15,000 miles in an Elantra sedan in California during the past 12 months would get a debit card worth $67.05, which includes $8.81 for the inconvenience.”

Importantly, recipients of the reimbursement program will not be precluded from pursuing litigation and as a result several class actions have since been filed – at least five against Kia and six against Hyundai since the EPA study was released on November 1, 2012. Although the reimbursement program is a nice start, Kia and Hyundai owners may be able to receive additional compensation for both future miles driven and a loss in market value, which would significantly trump any amount received through the reimbursement program.

If you believe you are an owner of one of the vehicles that are affected by the fuel economy rating change, you can check if your vehicle qualifies by entering your car’s 17-digit VIN here (KIA) or here (Hyundai).

For a free consultation regarding your legal claims, contact the attorneys of Khorrami, LLP.

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