Kia Motors America Inc. has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging the Korean automaker defrauded consumers by overstating the fuel efficiency of five of its top models.
Lead plaintiff Richard Woodruff alleges in the Kia class action lawsuit that the Kia Optima HEV, Rio, Sorento, Soul and Sportage experienced a surge in sales for their 2011 to 2013 models based on an “extensive and misleading” marketing campaign that promoted them as achieving class-leading gas mileage.
However, on November 2 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that Kia and its affiliate Hyundai Motor America had exaggerated car fuel economy estimates, and that most models actually received 1 to 2 miles per gallon less than advertised. The biggest discrepancy was with the Kia Soul, which actually received 6 mpg less than advertised. The debacle has been dubbed “MPG Gate” by the media.
“[Kia] inflated the results of mileage testing the company reported to the EPA and advertised that the affected vehicles achieved better fuel efficiency than actually achieved,” the Kia mpg class action lawsuit states. “This message was false and defendant failed to comply with EPA regulations which would have given consumers accurate information about the vehicles’ fuel efficiency.”
Hyundai has already been hit with a class action lawsuit over the fuel economy discrepancies, and a joint class action lawsuit was filed against Hyundai and Kia in November. Both companies have established a reimbursement program for current and former vehicle owners to cover the additional fuel costs that were incurred based on miles driven, plus an additional 15 percent of the reimbursement amount.
The Kia fuel economy class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of a proposed nationwide class of consumers that purchased a 2011-2012 Optima HEV, 2012-2013 Rio, 2012-2013 Sorento, 2012-2013 Soul (including the Eco) and the 2012-2013 Sportage. It is seeking restitution, disgorgement of profits, and damages for violation of California’s business code and false advertising law, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and deceit.
The Kia Fuel Economy Class Action Lawsuit case is Woodruff v. Kia Motors America Inc., Case No. 12-cv-06155, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff is represented by Deborah R. Rosenthal of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC.
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