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Hyundai settles class action suit re fuel economy ratings

MARKHAM, ONT. - Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. announced Jan. 27 that it  has reached a settlement valued at $46.65 million in a class action suit 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 some 130,000 model year 2011 to 2013 vehicles.

Those who don't take the one-time payment can remain in an existing reimbursement program Hyundai introduced after the company restated the fuel economy ratings of its vehicles in November 2012.

At the time, the previously advertised fuel consumption figures for combined city/highway driving were increased by between 0.2 and 0.8 of a litre per 100 kilometres.

Michael Peerless of Siskinds LLP, the lead plaintiff lawyer involved in the settlement, praised the decision by Hyundai to settle.

“Hyundai should be commended for doing the right thing and resolving this issue with its customers,” Peerless said in a statement issued by Hyundai.
“The fact that a class member is able to choose one of a variety of lump sum payments, or to remain in the reimbursement program, provides real benefits to this large class of customers.”

At the time of the restatement, Hyundai provided a reimbursement program to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the rating change — plus a 15 per cent 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 program, 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,” said Faithlyn Hemmings, senior legal counsel at Hyundai Canada.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, a lump sum payment will be provided as an option to the reimbursement program.

While the agreement is valued at up to $46.65 million 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 program.

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 per cent of the lump sum cash payment amount, or a credit of 200 per cent 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.