ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Hyundai Motor Co. announced this week it has settled with customers affected by the overestimated fuel economy ratings, which were brought to light in late 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Hyundai’s recent agreement is with current and former owners and lessees of vehicles affected by the automaker’s 2012 restatement of fuel economy ratings on about 35 percent of vehicles sold between 2011 and 2013.
“We are pleased with the proposed settlement,” said W. Gerald Flannery, general counsel of Hyundai Motor America. “It demonstrates the ongoing Hyundai commitment to taking care of its customers.”
At the time of the restatement in 2012, Hyundai provided a lifetime reimbursement program to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the rating change — plus a 15 percent premium in acknowledgment of the inconvenience to customers. Affected owners and lessees are compensated based on their actual mileage and the fuel costs for the region in which they live.
“Customers responded favorably to the original reimbursement program,” added Flannery. “Today’s settlement is designed to provide them with an option, again intended to make customers fully whole for Hyundai’s fuel economy ratings restatement.”
To address plaintiffs’ claims — including the requirement that affected vehicle owners return to a dealership for mileage verification, which plaintiffs felt could deter participation in the reimbursement program — Hyundai agreed to add a lump sum payment option. The proposed cash lump sum amount, which varies by vehicle model and ownership type, will result in an average estimated payment of $353 to Hyundai owners and lessees.
For example, an owner of a 2012 Elantra would receive a lump sum payment of $320 minus any previous reimbursement payments. Affected Hyundai owners may elect the one-time lump sum cash payment or remain in the automaker’s lifetime reimbursement program. Consumers can also elect other options, such as a dealership credit of 150 percent of the lump sum cash payment amount, or a credit of 200 percent of the cash amount toward the purchase of a new Hyundai vehicle.
“Hyundai’s willingness to create a way for its customers to receive all of their future extra fuel expenses in a lump sum shows they are serious about making things right for their customers,” said Rob Carey, a Hagens Berman partner working on the case. “Hyundai stepped up — and its customers will now get a full recovery without the inconvenience of repeated dealership visits and paperwork.”
The court is expected to review the proposed settlement for preliminary approval in early 2014. Once approval is granted, notices will be sent to individual class members. Initial details of the settlement are available now at www.hyundaimpginfo.com. A more in-depth website dedicated to the settlement will be established following preliminary approval by the Court.