Horsepower and fuel efficiency are the hallmarks of advertising in today’s motor industry. With gas prices always hovering over $3 per gallon, it becomes exceedingly difficult to reach consumers unless they understand that their dollar will go far. Because of this, it is no surprise that the reported gas mileage estimates may not always be true.
Such was the case with Hyundai Motors. It advertising campaigns for its Sonata and Elantra models touted their ability to get 40 miles per gallon of gas using EPA estimates, which would make them industry leaders. A group of car buyers in California have challenged this notion after discovering that their vehicles were not as fuel efficient as advertised, and have brought a class action lawsuit.
The suit alleges that Hyundai misused EPA estimates in advertising fuel economy, which in turn, misled consumers.
According to a recent story from topclassactions.com, a federal judge in California recently certified the class, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. In its ruling, the court reasoned that “Plaintiffs have exhaustively detailed the extensive scope of the challenged advertising,” and that “It appears almost impossible for Hyundai to dispute| the extensive sweep of its marketing efforts as to the fuel efficiency of the Elantra and Sonata vehicles.”
In granting tentative certification, a question still remains as to whether the class will be limited solely to California consumers, since the lawsuit is based primarily on violations of state consumer protection laws. Nevertheless, the matter could serve as a bellwether case for similar class actions in other jurisdictions.
Source: TopClassActions.com, Hyundai Sonata/Elantra Class Action Tentatively Certified, November 30, 2012