GM offers debit cards or longer warranties in mileage case
People who bought or leased 2016 General Motors SUVs with overstated gas mileage on the window sticker will be getting compensated, the automaker said Friday.
Those who purchased their SUV will get to choose a debit card or an extended warranty, while lessees will receive the debit card.
For most people, the compensation will be worth $450 to $900, but owners of some all-wheel-drive SUVs could get as much as $1,500. The payments will vary with lease terms and mileage differences between models.
About 135,000 customers will get letters stating their amounts starting May 25. GM says another 35,000 fleet customers will be handled individually.
"We designed this reimbursement program to provide full and fair compensation," GM spokesman Jim Cain said.
The Detroit automaker announced last week that fuel economy was overstated by one-to-two miles per gallon on the 2016 GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. GM blamed the discrepancy on new emissions control hardware and said the error was inadvertent. The mileage was recalculated for 2016 but the new figures never made it onto the window stickers, the company said.
GM wouldn't say why the hardware was changed but said all previous model years of the SUVs met emissions standards.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which monitors the gas mileage window stickers, said it has asked GM for information in the case.
Owners who go for the extended warranty will get coverage for four years or 60,000 miles, which is longer than the standard warranty of three years or 36,000 miles.
The reimbursement is based on the same formula that the EPA uses to calculate future fuel costs, with a gas price of $3 per gallon and annual driving mileage of 15,000, for a period of five years, GM said in a statement.
The company wouldn't reveal the total cost of the payments and warranties but said it will not materially affect GM's earnings.
The mileage mistake was discovered recently by engineers who were working on the 2017 model stickers. The company said it informed the EPA.
For a front-wheel-drive version, the 2016 fuel economy of the SUVs was revised to 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. The 2015 models got 17 mpg in the city, 24 on the highway and 19 combined.
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