Virginia will receive $1,181.999.07 as part of a multi-state settlement to resolve allegations that automakers, Hyundai and Kia, misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy ratings for some of their model year 2011, 2012, and 2013 vehicles.
The $41.2 million settlement between Virginia, 32 other states, the District of Columbia, and Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, Inc. and Kia Motors America, Inc., concludes a multi-state investigation into the companies’ practices relating to fuel economy adjustments that occurred at a time when gasoline prices in the United States were particularly high.
“In Virginia, we expect automakers and other retailers to be honest with consumers about the characteristics, uses and benefits of the products they sell. When they are not, they must be held accountable,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “The laws that require businesses to provide truthful information about their products protect other businesses as well as consumers. All businesses operating in the marketplace are entitled to a level playing field and the right to compete fairly and honestly on the basis of the quality, characteristics and price of the goods and services they offer.”
In addition to the payment to the state, consumer restitution claims relating to the alleged violations have been handled separately through class action settlements and the companies’ own reimbursement programs. Hyundai has paid, or committed to pay, 11,256 Virginia customers a total of $2 million through its reimbursement program, and an additional $888,000 to 2,588 customers through class-action settlement claims. Kia has paid, or committed to pay, 8,378 Virginia customers a total of $1.4 million through its reimbursement program, and an additional $668,000 to 1,825 Virginia customers through class-action settlement claims.
Before vehicles may be offered for sale, automakers must conduct rigorous testing to prove their vehicles meet applicable state and federal emissions standards.In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia announced that they were adjusting and restating the fuel economy ratings for certain model year 2011, 2012, and 2013 vehicles after it was revealed that the companies’ had overstated the fuel efficiency of those vehicles.
The settlement takes the form of a Consent Judgment, which has been filed with the Circuit Court of Henrico County for approval.
In the Complaint filed along with the Consent Judgment, the state alleges that:
- Hyundai and Kia incorporated their inflated and inaccurate data into the estimated mileage ratings displayed on the window stickers of hundreds of thousands of cars in Virginia and across the country.
- The companies sought to capitalize on the erroneous mileage estimates by placing them prominently in a variety of advertisements and other promotional campaigns.
- These actions were likely to mislead consumers and were material to consumers’ decisions to purchase particular vehicles during a time of high gasoline prices.
- These actions violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
In addition to Virginia, the multi-state group includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.