Hyundai and Kia have come to preliminary settlements over lawsuits about misstated fuel-economy figures for certain 2011-2013 vehicles. The proposed settlements total $395 million and will be fully reviewed by courts in early 2014.
Hyundai and Kia announced in late 2012 that, due to a procedural error, the companies had overstated the fuel-economy ratings of several vehicles. Both Hyundai and Kia issued lower, more accurate fuel-economy stickers, and elected to reimburse affected owners. The reimbursement program would pay owners back for fuel costs based on their region and vehicle mileage, plus an additional 15 percent bonus for the inconvenience. However, after the announcement, 53 separate lawsuits over the economy claims were filed and eventually consolidated into one class-action case.
Under the terms of the settlement, affected Hyundai owners who choose to take part would receive a one-time cash payment option that is expected to average about $353, from a total settlement of $210 million. Customers could also choose to have 150 percent of that value (about $530) as a dealership credit, or 200 percent (approximately $706) as credit toward purchase of a new Hyundai vehicle. Kia's $185 million settlement will result in an average payout of $667 per vehicle owner, which can also be multipled by 150 or 200 percent if the customer desires.
Customers who take the lump-sum payout are not eligible for the previously announce gas reimbursement program, and any previous gas reimbursements payout will be subtracted from the cash payout. However, Hyundai and Kia said some owners found the terms of the reimbursement program, which requires owners to periodically take their cars to dealerships so actual mileage can be verified, too onerous.
As an example, Hyundai said that if the owner of a 2012 Elantra elected to receive the cash payout, he or she would receive about $320 -- minus any gas reimbursements already paid.