Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Settlement with Hyundai and Kia for Misrepresenting Vehicle Fuel Economy
LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, along with the attorneys general of 33 other states and the District of Columbia, today announced a $41.2 million settlement with automakers Hyundai and Kia to resolve allegations that the companies misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy ratings for certain model year 2011, 2012, and 2013 vehicles.
The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into the business practices of Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, Inc., and Kia Motors America, Inc. over using inaccurate fuel economy ratings at a time when gasoline prices in the United States were particularly high. Californians were significantly burdened by misrepresentations regarding the fuel economy of Hyundai and Kia’s passenger vehicles. Californians purchased a significant percentage of the affected vehicles (approximately 9% of the affected Kia vehicles and 10.5% of the Hyundai vehicles). Attorney General Harris secured the largest share of the settlement funds, over $3 million, for California.
“California consumers deserve reliable and accurate information regarding the environmental impacts of the cars they buy. Kia and Hyundai misrepresented the fuel economy of its vehicles, misled consumers and contributed to more greenhouse gas emissions,” said Attorney General Harris. “My office will not tolerate the deception of California consumers who want to save on gas prices and reduce their environmental impact. This agreement holds the automakers responsible for their unlawful conduct and ensures the companies advertise fuel economy ratings accurately going forward.”
In November of 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 their vehicles.
California, in conjunction with other states in the multistate group, investigated allegations that Hyundai and Kia incorporated inflated and inaccurate data into the estimated mileage ratings of their vehicles. Such ratings were displayed on window stickers posted on hundreds of thousands of vehicles that were sold in California and across the country. The group also investigated allegations that Hyundai and Kia sought to capitalize on erroneous mileage estimates by prominently placing them in a variety of advertisements and other promotional campaigns.
In California’s complaint against Hyundai and Kia, Attorney General Harris alleges that the companies’ actions constituted violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law. The complaint states that Hyundai and Kia’s conduct was likely to mislead consumers at a time when gasoline prices were high, and the fuel economy of vehicles was extremely important to the purchasing decisions of consumers.
Under the terms of the settlement, Hyundai and Kia have agreed to accurately represent the fuel economy of their new passenger vehicles and will be subject to monitoring by the Attorney General of each state in the multistate group.
Last year, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) secured a $6 million civil penalty from these companies for violations related to their incorrect fuel economy ratings for passenger vehicles.
In addition to California, the multistate group includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, 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, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
Copies of the complaint and stipulation for entry of final judgment are attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.