Hyundai, Kia propose US settlement for overstating fuel economy

DETROIT Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:02pm EST

DETROIT Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.S. units of South Korean sister companies Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp on Monday announced a proposed settlement of $395 million with owners of cars for which the two companies overstated fuel economy ratings in 2012.

The proposed resolution would affect American owners of about 600,000 Hyundai and about 300,000 Kia vehicles from the 2011 to 2013 model years.

The amount each company pays out will depend on how many owners opt for a one-time payment rather than participate in a "lifetime reimbursement" program in which owners get debit cards to pay them for the difference between actual fuel economy and what the company stated.

Hyundai estimates that the lump-sum payments to its owners in the United States will cost about $210 million, and for Kia that figure is $185 million.

In November 2012, the two companies conceded that they overstated fuel economy by at least a mile per gallon on vehicles after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found errors for 13 Hyundai and Kia models from the 2011 to 2013 model years.

Hyundai estimated that the average lump sum payment would on average be $320 minus any previous reimbursement payments an owner received.

The proposed settlement will go to the consumers who brought the 53 U.S. federal complaints, which were later consolidated. If the plaintiffs accept the settlement, it will then go up for approval by a federal judge in California.

The proposed settlement does not affect class-action cases brought in Canada. A proposed settlement to those cases is expected in early 2014, said Hyundai spokesman Chad Heard.

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