2013 Hyundai Elantra sedanEnlarge Photo
Last November, Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia found themselves in hot, and rather deep water.
An EPA investigation found each manufacturer had overstated its gas mileage window stickers on 13 models--some by as much as 6 mpg.
Each manufacturer quickly apologized and agreed to compensate owners for the mis-stated mileage, but lawsuits followed in several states. These were later consolidated into a single suit in a Los Angeles federal court.
Reimbursement plans were put in place in December. Owners could claim compensation based on how long they had owned the car and how much extra gas they'd have used at the claimed mileage, against the re-adjusted figures. That figure would then be increased by another 15 percent as a goodwill gesture.
Not only that, but owners could continue to claim gas mileage rebates for as long as they owned the car. Owners had until the end of 2012 to register for the compensation scheme.
Despite these offers, the federal lawsuit has gone ahead. Hyundai has agreed to settle these lawsuits, while Kia is still evaluating the settlement proposal.
Hyundai had earmarked around $225 million for its compensation plans, and Kia another $187 million.
It's unclear just how much the lawsuits will cost, but one of the consolidate suits said the 900,000 affected customers should be paid $775 million--incredibly costly for both companies.
Last month, an executive from Honda, itself the subject of lawsuits over its Civic Hybrid mileage, said Hyundai and Kia had "betrayed" buyers.
Hyundai and Kia have declined to comment on the lawsuits, though Kia Motors America spokesman Scott McKee told Automotive News, "Kia Motors America's priority is and will remain making things right for our customers, which is why we are offering to compensate all current and former owners of affected vehicles, using MPG ratings adjustments for the full length of their vehicle ownership."
Under the proposed settlement, Hyundai and Kia owners can continue to take periodic payments to reimbursement debit cards, or opt for a single lump sum payment.
Have you been afffected by Hyundai and Kia's mis-stated mileage figures? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.