CANADA: Fuel economy lawsuit costs Hyundai $46.65m
Hyundai Auto Canada reportedly has reached a settlement valued at CDN$46.65m in a class action lawsuit involving the fuel economy ratings of some of its vehicles.
The deal offers lump sum payments and other options to current and former owners and lessees of 130,000 model year 2011 to 2013 vehicles, The Canada Press said in a report published in Toronto's Globe & Mail daily.
Those who don’t take the one-time payment can remain in an existing reimbursement programme Hyundai introduced after the company restated the fuel economy ratings of its vehicles in November, 2012, the report said.
At the time, the previously advertised fuel consumption figures for combined city/highway driving in Canada were increased by between 0.2 and 0.8 of a litre per 100 kilometres.
Michael Peerless of Siskinds, the lead plaintiff lawyer involved in the settlement, praised the decision by Hyundai to settle, the article added.
"Hyundai should be commended for doing the right thing and resolving this issue with its customers," Peerless was quoted in a statement issued by Hyundai Canada.
"The fact that a class member is able to choose one of a variety of lump sum payments, or to remain in the reimbursement programme, provides real benefits to this large class of customers."
The report noted that, at the time of the restatement, Hyundai Canada provided a reimbursement programme to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the rating change – plus a 15% premium in acknowledgment of the inconvenience to customers – for as long as they owned or leased an affected vehicle. Affected owners and lessees are compensated based on their actual kilometres driven and the fuel costs for the region in which they live.
"While customers have responded favourably to the original reimbursement programme, today’s settlement is designed to provide them with an additional compensation option, again intended to make customers fully whole for Hyundai’s fuel economy ratings restatement," Faithlyn Hemmings, senior legal counsel at Hyundai Canada, was quoted as saying.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, a lump sum payment will be provided as an option to the reimbursement programme.
While the agreement is valued at up to $46.65m in cash compensation plus other available options, the actual figure will depend on what options customers choose to take.
The lump sum payments will vary by type of vehicle, and will be reduced for any amounts already received through Hyundai’s existing reimbursement programme.
The Canada Press said an individual owner who purchased a new 2012 Elantra would receive a lump sum payment of $361, minus any previous reimbursement payments.
Drivers may also elect other options, such as a dealership credit of 150% of the lump sum cash payment amount, or a credit of 200% of the cash amount toward the purchase of a new Hyundai vehicle.
Courts in Ontario and Quebec are expected to review the agreement for approval later this year, the report added.
Class action lawsuits were also filed against Hyundai Motor and afiliate Kia south of the border after the two brands had announced compensation for customers after the US Environmental Protection Agency said late in 2012 they had overstated the fuel efficiency of 1.07m cars sold in the US.
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