Kia recalls 2014 Kia Soul vehicles over potential loss of steering

Kia Motors Corporation is recalling certain model year 2014 Kia Soul vehicles manufactured July 21, 2013, through January 17, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the plug that secures the pinion gear to the steering gear assembly may loosen due to an improper application of thread-locking adhesive during the assembly process.

As a result, the pinion gear can separate from the steering gear assembly, causing a loss of steering, thereby increasing the risk of a crash.

51,641 vehicles are affected by the recall.

Kia will notify owners, and dealers will replace the pinion plug with a new pinion plug which has properly applied thread-locking adhesive, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in July 2014.

Hyundai Motor Corp. and Kia Motors settled a class-action lawsuit alleging gas mileage ratings were overstated for $395 millon

After an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency, Hyundai and Kia Motors agreed to restate expected gas mileage in November 2012 for 1.1 million vehicles in North America. The automakers admitted they after overstated mileage claims on vehicle window stickers for 900,000 vehicles in the United States. The settlement impacts about 600,000 of Hyundai’s 2011-13 models and about 300,000 of Kia‘s 2011-13 models in the U.S.

Hyundai and Kia agreed to provide a lifetime reimbursement program to cover additional fuel costs associated with the rating change — plus a 15 percent premium in acknowledgment of the inconvenience to customers. Owners and drivers leasing vehicles are compensated based on their actual mileage and the fuel costs for the region in which they live; they must go to a dealership to have their odometers read.

The 2012 restatement reduced Hyundai-Kia’s fleetwide average fuel economy from 27 to 26 mpg for the 2012 model year. Individual ratings, depending on the car, will fall from 1 mpg to 6 mpg. Most vehicles saw combined city-highway efficiency drop by 1 mpg.

The global settlement will resolve more than 50 lawsuits filed across the country to address the issue.

The proposed cash amount, which varies by vehicle model and ownership type, will result in an average payment of $353 to Hyundai owners and lessees. For Kia owners, the proposed average cash lump-sum amount will be about $667.

Hyundai and Kia owners can also elect other options such as a dealership credit of 150 percent of the lump sum amount, or a credit of 200 percent of the cash amount toward the purchase of a new Kia or Hyundai.

Additional information about the settlement can be found at hyundaimpginfo.com or www.kiampginfo.com.

Kia named in class action over First generation (2002–2009) equipped with a Hyundai-manufactured 3.5L 24-valve DOHC V6 engine

This class action lawsuit on behalf of a class of all current and former owners and leasees of certain Kia Sorento, model year First generation (2002–2009) equipped with a Hyundai-manufactured 3.5L 24-valve DOHC V6 engine. It is alleged here that these engines were designed with a defective engine crank sprocket and balancer, in that the design of the balancer sticks out too far and weighs too much, breaking off the spring guide Pin and causing the front pulley bolt to break, which then causes catastrophic engine failure, loss of power steering, loss of the charging system, loss of the cooling system and loss of control of the vehicle, and is a hazard to owners and other individuals who may be in harms way.

As alleged, through a common and uniform course of conduct, the Defendants’ knowing failure, despite their longstanding knowledge of the problem, to disclose to Plaintiffs and other consumers that Kia Sorento (2002-2009), vehicles (collectively, the “Class vehicles”) are predisposed to snap the front pulley bolt resulting in the ejection of the front pulley, which then sets off a chain reaction of shredding all the belts attached to it including the power steering, battery charging system, and cooling system, all resulting in severe heat buildup, loss of steering control while being driven, loss of power while being driven, hazardous accident potential and engine failure, and metal debris, resulting in serious and expensive damage to, and/or catastrophic failure of the engine within the Class vehicles (collectively, the “front pulley balancer bolt problem”). Not only did Kia actively conceal the material fact that this particular component is defectively designed (and requires costly repairs to fix), but it also did not reveal that the existence of this defect would diminish the intrinsic resale value of the vehicle. Furthermore, through a common and uniform course of conduct, Defendants have failed to honor both federally mandated and voluntarily offered warranties that would have required them to repair or correct, at no cost to the consuming public, the nonconforming and/or defective vehicle(s).

The complaint alleges that Defendants have been aware for years of the true nature and cause of the front pulley balancer bolt problem in class vehicles. Meanwhile, Defendants made numerous affirmative statements touting the high-quality and reliability of the Class vehicles.

As a result of the front pulley balancer bolt problem and defective vehicle design, Defendants have benefited from collecting funds from Kia customers for vehicle service procedures such as unnecessary front pulley balancer bolt replacements, computer reprogramming and software updates, and troubleshooting and diagnosing front pulley balancer bolt complaints, when in fact, Defendants knew the true cause of such front pulley balancer bolt problems within the Class vehicles were the defective vehicle design.

Many owners and leasees of the Class vehicles have had to repair or replace their, front pulley balancer bolts multiple times, thereby incorporating costly front pulley balancer bolt repairs and/or replacements as needed to return their vehicles to expected operating condition.

Kia Motors and Hyundai Motors named in class action over miscalculating standard mile per gallon usage on automobiles

Kia Motors and Hyundai Motors (“Defendants”) market and sell numerous models of vehicles in the United States, including the following 2011 through 2013 models: 2013 Hyundai Accent, Azera, Elantra, Genesis, Santa Fe, Tucson and Veloster; 20I3 Kia Rio, Sorento, Soul and Sportage; 2012 Hyundai Accent, Azera, Elantra, Genesis, Sonata, Tucson and Veloster; 2012 Kia Optima hybrid, Rio, Sorento, Soul and Sportage; 2011Hyundai Elantra and Sonata hybrid; and 2011 Kia Optima hybrid (the “Subject Vehicles”).

Over the past two years, Defendants have uniformly represented in product advertising that each of the Subject Vehicles will obtain a standard mile per gallon range. However, based on a federal government investigation spawned by many consumer complaints, both Defendants have recently admitted that the calculations for these ranges were miscalculated and uniformly wrong. This is material to consumers, since as stated by Gina McCarthy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”): “Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy.”

According to the EPA, this is not a situation where the company complied with EPA testing procedures in accordance with regulations promulgated by the government, but rather admittedly failed to comply with such procedures and regulations. This action does not seek to alter or amend Defendants obligations for providing correct mileage calculation statements, which Defendants admittedly did not do. These representations were made in the Subject Vehicles’ advertising, including brochures, billboards, and publicly disseminated commercials.

As alleged in the complaint, Defendants engaged in an extensive advertising campaign emanating from California and taking place throughout the United States and Canada. Part of the goal of this advertising campaign was to convince consumers that many Subject Vehicles achieved gas mileage in the 40 mile per gallon range, which is a very important threshold for marketing purposes. While the differences vary, in almost all the circumstances in question as a result of the downward adjustment the vehicles will not reach that level — a fact that was and is material to Plaintiff and the reasonable consumer who purchased or leased at least one of the Subject Vehicles.

Because of this deceptive advertising campaign, and the claims made therein, Defendants have charged a price premium for the Subject Vehicles and/or increased demand therefor. While Defendants have attempted to address this admitted problem by offering consumers debit cards, they either know or reasonably should know what they are offering will not reimburse consumers for their actual out of pocket losses as the debit card is only for certain mileage differences, requires them to visit their car dealer for “verification” purposes, is not in cash such that they can count on the entire amount not being used, and fails to provide compensation for the fact that many consumers, such as Plaintiff, would not have bought or leased these vehicles at the prices they did if the true facts had been timely disclosed.

This action is brought by Plaintiff on behalf of a class comprising all similarly situated consumers who purchased or leased one or more of the Subject Vehicles other than for resale or distribution and seeks to halt the use of a “refund” program that does not fully compensate consumers for their losses and does not operate as a release of claims, or at a minimum ensures it is an offset against actual losses, as well as to correct the misperception that such false and deceptive advertising has created in the minds of consumers and obtain full redress for those who purchased or leased one or more Subject Vehicles.