Wisconsin Joins Settlement Against Kia and Hyundai
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the state of Wisconsin will receive $920,758.22 as part of a multistate settlement with automakers Hyundai and Kia to resolve claims that the companies misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy ratings for some of their model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles.
The $41.2 million settlement between 33 states and the District of Columbia and the Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corporation, Inc., and Kia Motors America, Inc. concludes a multi-state investigation into the companies' business practices relating to fuel economy estimate adjustments that occurred at a time when gasoline prices in the United States were especially high.
“Vigorous competition benefits consumers but that competition cannot involve deceptive or false statements or the market will not function properly,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “When a company makes a false claim, they should be held accountable, as Hyundai and Kia have been with this settlement. Wisconsin consumers deserve to know the truth about the products they purchase.”
State and federal laws set limits on emissions from vehicles sold in the United States. Before vehicles may be offered for sale in the country, auto manufacturers must conduct testing under mandatory protocols set by government regulators and use the resulting data from that testing to support applications demonstrating their vehicles' conformity to those standards.
In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia announced 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 certain vehicles.
The states alleged that Hyundai and Kia incorporated the inflated data into the estimated mileage ratings displayed on the window stickers of hundreds of thousands of cars in Wisconsin and across the country. The states also alleged that the companies sought to capitalize on the erroneous mileage estimates by placing them prominently in a variety of advertisements and other promotional campaigns.
The states alleged that these actions were likely to mislead consumers and were material to consumers' decisions to purchase particular vehicles during a time of high gasoline prices. Attorney General Schimel alleged that these actions constituted violations of Wisconsin Statutes § 100.18, the prohibition on making false, deceptive or misleading representations in commerce.
In addition to Wisconsin, the multistate group – led by the states of Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois – includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.