Rutledge Part of $41.2 Million Settlement with Hyundai and Kia
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a multistate settlement with automakers Hyundai and Kia to resolve allegations that the companies misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy standards on several of their model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles.
Arkansas will receive $747,798.64 to resolve allegations of consumer protection law violations, which will be deposited into the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.
“Arkansans looking to purchase a vehicle have an expectation that the data presented to them by auto manufacturers is accurate,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Hyundai and Kia provided erroneous and misleading information, trying to take advantage of consumers while fuel prices were high. No company can be allowed to get by with this behavior.”
The settlement between the 33 states and the District of Columbia and the Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors Corp. 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.
State and federal law set limits on emissions from vehicles sold in the U.S. Before vehicles may be offered for sale in the country, auto manufacturers must conduct testing under mandatory protocols set by regulators and use the resulting data 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 standards of certain vehicles.
The states alleged that Hyundai and Kia incorporated the inflated and inaccurate data into the estimated mileage ratings displayed on the window stickers of hundreds of thousands of cars in Arkansas and across the country. The states also suspected that the companies sought to capitalize on the flawed mileage estimates by placing them in a variety of advertisements and other promotional campaigns.
These actions were certainly misleading to consumers and may have influenced consumers' decisions to purchase particular vehicles that claimed to offer better fuel standards than others.
In addition to Arkansas, the multistate group – led by the states of Connecticut, Iowa and Illinois – includes Alabama, Arizona, 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, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach Internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.