South Korean auto makers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. agreed to pay a combined penalty of $300 million for overstating fuel-economy claims, the largest such punishment ever. And those are not the only South Korean companies losses. Hyundai-Kia last year agreed to settle a class-action suit over its mileage claims for a total of nearly $400 million, paying buyers of affected vehicles an average of about $353 apiece. More then one year ago, Hyundai admitted after an audit of its mileage claims by the EPA that it had overstated the fuel efficiency for about 1.2 million vehicles, or about a quarter of its 2011-2013 model vehicles sold in the U.S. And EPA said the overstatements ranged from between 1 and 6 miles per gallon.The Hyundai and Kia settlement is subject to a court review. The California Air Resources Board joined the federal agencies as a plaintiff in the civil action and will get $6.3 million of the fines, the EPA and Justice Department said.
What it is really important, the settlement could set a template for other enforcement actions involving overstatement of fuel-economy claims.