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The state of Virginia will receive $1.18 million from car makers accused of misleading consumers about the gas mileage of some of their vehicles.
The payment comes as part of a $41.2 million settlement negotiated among 33 states and the District of Columbia against Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corp. Inc. and Kia Motors America Inc., Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring said in a release Thursday. The automakers misrepresented the fuel-economy ratings and mileage of some of their cars during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 model years, a time when U.S. gas prices were high.
“In Virginia, we expect automakers and other retailers to be honest with consumers about the characteristics, uses and benefits of the products they sell,” Herring said in the release. “When they are not, they must be held accountable.”
Kia and Hyundai announced in November 2012 that they were revising fuel economy ratings for certain vehicles from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 model years – after revelations that they had overstated the fuel efficiency of those cars.
In documents filed with the settlement papers in Henrico County Circuit Court, the state alleges that Hyundai and Kia violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act by using inflated, inaccurate data for estimated mileage ratings, which they then displayed in hundreds of thousands of car windows in Virginia and across the country.
The car makers also used the erroneous mileage estimates in advertising campaigns, and these actions were likely misleading and material to consumers’ purchasing decisions at a time of high gas prices, the state said.
Separately, through class-action settlements and consumer restitution claims, Hyundai has paid or agreed to pay $2 million in reimbursement to 11,256 Virginia customers and $888,000 to 2,588 class-action claimants.
Kia has paid, or agreed pay $1.4 million to 8,378 Virginia customers through its reimbursement program and $668,000 to 1,825 Virginia class-action claimants.