Hyundai reached tentative deal to settle US class action lawsuits

Article by Anita Panait, on February 28, 2013

Hyundai has reached an agreement to settle consumer lawsuits in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that stemmed from overstated fuel economy ratings for around 600,000 Hyundai vehicles sold in the United States. Since the financial terms of the proposed settlement were not disclosed in a filing made by consumer attorneys, it remains unclear how much Hyundai has to shell out.

Under the agreement, consumers who bought Hyundai vehicles with overstated fuel economy ratings will have an option of receiving a lump sum settlement payout, or to continue with the carmaker's debit card reimbursement plan announced by the carmaker in November 2012. Hyundai Motor America and affiliate Kia Motors America faced multiple class action lawsuits in the US after they disclosed on Nov. 2, 2012, that they had sold around 900,000 vehicles to U.S. consumers with overstated fuel economy claims.

Thirty-eight class action suits have been consolidated into a single case in federal court in Los Angeles. One of the suits says that Hyundai should pay $775 million to affected consumers. The filing said that Hyundai had agreed earlier this February to the general terms of a settlement. The filing also said that Kia has been invited to join the settlement and is assessing the settlement proposal.

Hyundai Motor America spokesman Chris Hosford declined to comment on the matter, citing the confidential nature of the settlement talks. Kia Motors America spokesman Scott McKee also declined to comment, citing a policy regarding pending litigation. McKee said in an e-mail to Automotive News that Kia Motors America’s priority is and will remain to be making things right for their customers, which is the reason they are offering to compensate all current and former owners of affected vehicles, using mpg ratings adjustments for the full length of their vehicle ownership.

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