Thursday, March 14, 2013
Hyundai Seeking to Settle Mileage Fraud Suits
Hyundai is nearing a settlement of 38 federal lawsuits filed against it after the company overstated fuel economy figures of its vehicles.
The company recently said in California court filings that it would issue payments to some 600,000 vehicle owners from model years 2011 - 2013. The payment amount was not disclosed, but reportedly will depend on the vehicle and the degree to which its mileage was exaggerated.
In November, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered overstated numbers in Hyundai vehicles. While the company acknowledged the problem, it attributed the discrepancies to procedural errors.
However, evidence suggests that by touting its fuel economy so robustly in its marketing, Hyundai might have been tempted to deliberately mislead consumers.
The vehicles involved include the Hyundai Azera, Accent, Genesis, Santa Fe, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.
Since acknowledging the fraud, Hyundai reportedly has been paying vehicle owners about $88 annually, an amount calculated by how much the mileage was overstated and the average gasoline price.
A number of buyers who did not accept Hyundai's settlement filed federal lawsuits and Hyundai is now seeking to settle with those claimants.
Consumer Watchdog, a California group that represents some of the plaintiffs, opposes the settlement offer because the payment amount has not been disclosed. The group is also displeased because it claims that unclaimed payments will be recouped by Hyundai, rather than being distributed to buyers.