Automaker Pleased to Reach Agreement and Provide Affected Customers with New Reimbursement Options Including a Lump Sum Cash Payment
IRVINE, Calif., December 23, 2013 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today announced a proposed settlement of disputes that were raised by current and former owners and lessees of vehicles affected by the automaker’s November 2012 restatement of fuel economy ratings. The adjustment affected approximately 300,000 2011-13 model year Kia vehicles. While today’s proposed settlement agreement is valued at up to approximately $185 million, the final number will be determined by the number of customers that elect to participate in one of the settlement’s lump-sum payment options or remain in the lifetime reimbursement program KMA introduced at the time of the restatement, which reimburses based on actual fuel expenses.
“Kia Motors is a responsible company, and the proposed settlement enhances our goal of making things right for our customers by providing new reimbursement options,” said John Yoon, KMA Executive Vice President HR, Administration, Diversity Relations, and General Counsel. “Kia Motors is fully committed to taking care of its customers, and today’s settlement adds flexibility by adding lump-sum payment options to the transparent reimbursement program introduced last year.”
KMA has previously offered to provide compensation to affected owners for added fuel costs as a result of the MPG adjustments from the time of the original restatement – plus an extra 15 percent for their inconvenience. Affected owners and lessees are reimbursed based on their actual mileage and the fuel costs for the region in which they live.
To address plaintiffs’ claims, including that having to repeatedly return to a dealership would deter participation in the reimbursement program, KMA and the plaintiffs agreed to add lump-sum payment options. The proposed cash lump-sum amount, which varies by vehicle and ownership type and accounts for previously received compensation, will result in an estimated average payment of about $667 for retail customers. Consumers can also elect other options such as a dealership credit of 150% of the lump sum cash payment amount, or a credit of 200% of the cash amount towards the purchase of a new Kia vehicle.
“Kia’s willingness to create a way for its customers to receive all of their future extra fuel expenses in a lump sum shows they are serious about making things right for their customers,” said Rob Carey, a Hagens Berman partner working on the case. “Kia stepped up – and its customers will now get a full recovery without the chores of going to the dealership or filling out paperwork for years on end.”
The Court is expected to review the proposed settlement for preliminary approval in early 2014. Assuming preliminary approval is granted, notices will be sent to individual class members. Preliminary details of the settlement are available at www.KiaMPGinfo.com. A more in-depth website dedicated to the settlement will be established following preliminary approval by the Court.
About Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation, MDL No. 2424
Following disclosure of the fuel economy ratings discrepancy in November 2012, approximately 53 complaints were filed in federal court against Hyundai and Kia and then consolidated (In re: Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation, MDL No. 2424) in United States District Court for the Central District of California before Judge George H. Wu.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 765 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA. In 2012, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and gained U.S. market share for the 18th consecutive year. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its website – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at http://www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.
About Hagens Berman
Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP represents consumers, workers, whistleblowers and investors in complex litigation. The firm has offices in nine cities and has been named one of the top plaintiffs’ law firms in the country by the National Law Journal seven times. Founded in 1993, HBSS continues to successfully fight for consumer rights in class-action litigation. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Visit the firm’s class-action law blog at www.classactionlawtoday.com.