Hyundai and Kia face $775 mln suit in LA over bogus fuel economy figures

Article by Anita Panait, on November 9, 2012

Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America are facing a second civil suit in the United States seeking class-action status after the carmakers admitted to faking fuel economy figures. The latest suit was filed on behalf of 23 plaintiffs in the US District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

The suit is seeking $775 million in compensation for owners who claim that resale values have been damaged by the carmakers’ exaggerated fuel-economy figures. The civil suit says the carmakers’ proposed debit-card payouts to purchasers of almost 900,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles do not compensate for the decreased value of the concerned vehicles.

The suit states that the Hyundai and Kia's misrepresentations, concealment, and non-disclosure of the incorrect fuel economy numbers damaged the plaintiffs and the class, since they were misled into buying vehicles of a quality different than promised, and paying higher fuel costs they would not have paid. 

Hyundai and Kia issued apologies for the matter on Nov. 2, 2012, prompted by a probe by the US Environmental Protection Agency finding discrepancies between the carmakers; fuel-economy test results and the agency's own.

Hyundai and Kia have lowered the fuel-economy ratings for the affected vehicles by 1 to 2 mpg. The South Korean carmakers said the 900,000 affected vehicles accounted for around 35 percent of their combined sales of 2011-2013 models through Oct. 31, 2012.

The civil suit claims that Hyundai and Kia violated unfair competition and consumer legal remedies laws, and engaged in fraud, false advertising, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation and "unjust enrichment."

Citing a formula that accounts for all cars and miles driven over the economic life of the vehicle, the Los Angeles suit seeks that vehicle owners should be compensated $775 million for their inconvenience.

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Topics: hyundai, kia, lawsuit

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