NEW YORK – Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. have agreed to pay the United States a combined $100 million fine for overstating the fuel economy of almost 1.2 million vehicles, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice said Monday.
The two automakers, both affiliates of the South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group, were accused of violating the Clean Air Act and will forfeit the 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits they previously claimed. The companies earned the credits, worth about $200 million, from a program that encourages the production of vehicles with lower emissions than required by law.
The EPA began investigating reports of inaccurate fuel economy ratings in 2012 and found that the companies “chose favorable results rather than average results from a large number of tests” when determining fuel economy.
The companies have since corrected the ratings and reimbursed customers for increased fuel costs.
“This unprecedented resolution with Hyundai and Kia underscores the Justice Department’s firm commitment to safeguarding American consumers, ensuring fairness in every marketplace, protecting the environment, and relentlessly pursuing companies that make misrepresentations and violate the law,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release announcing the penalty.