Hyundai, Kia sued in U.S. court for overstated fuel-economy labels
LOS ANGELES -- Hyundai and Kia face a federal lawsuit seeking class-action status and unspecified damages for consumers who bought vehicles with overstated fuel-economy labels.
The suit follows the automakers' admission on Friday that they had sold some 900,000 U.S. vehicles from the 2011-2013 model years with inflated mileage ratings. (A list of affected models can be found by clicking here.)
The complaint, filed Sunday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, seeks attorney fees as well as unspecified damages for U.S. consumers who purchased or leased any of the eight Hyundai and five Kia nameplates cited in the suit.
The suit also asks the court to permit Ohio consumers who bought Hyundai or Kia vehicles with misstated mileage labels to back out of their purchase or lease agreements.
Spokesmen from Hyundai and Kia said their companies were reviewing the complaint and that they couldn't comment.
The plaintiffs are Molly Simons, who bought a 2012 Kia Rio this past spring; and Rebecca Sanders and Jeffrey Millar, who purchased a 2013 Hyundai Elantra last month.
The companies' admission on Friday was prompted by a U.S. EPA investigation that found discrepancies between company fuel-economy test results and the agency's own results. The companies have lowered the fuel-economy ratings for the affected vehicles. On most of them, the ratings fell by 1-2 mpg.
The automakers said the 900,000 vehicles reflected about 35 percent of their combined sales of 2011-13 models through Oct. 31.
Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America have publicly apologized for the misstated mileage claims. Officials said they resulted from "procedural errors" in internal fuel-economy testing. Both companies have pledged to compensate current and former owners for extra fuel costs incurred because of the faulty labels.
Under Hyundai's and Kia's proposed remedy, owners with mislabeled vehicles will bring them to dealerships for odometer checks. Dealers will forward the readings to the automaker, which will reimburse owners with debit cards for the extra gasoline they purchased.
Jeffrey Goldenberg, a partner at the plaintiffs' law firm, Goldenberg Schneider LPA in Cincinnati, said he was unsure how or whether Hyundai's and Kia's proposed remedy would affect the suit.
"From our perspective, there's a lot of information that isn't known yet compared to what is known," Goldenberg said. "We will certainly be interested as this litigation goes forward to see the breadth of how deep these problems go."
The parent companies of Hyundai and Kia as well as their U.S. sales arms are named in the suit.
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