The Competition Bureau of Canada has secured legally binding agreements with the Canadian arms of Hyundai and Kia to compensate the owners of 172,000 vehicles after the automakers admitted to making false or misleading fuel efficiency claims.
The consent agreements with Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. and Kia Canada Inc. formalize a compensation plan the companies first announced last November.
The carmakers said an error at their joint testing facilities in South Korea led them to think their cars were more fuel efficient that they actually were.
As a result, the advertised fuel consumption ratings for 13 Hyundai and Kia models between the 2011 and 2013 model years were listed as being 0.3 litres/100 kilometres better than they really were.
Canadian buyers of 130,000 affected Hyundais and 42,000 Kias are eligible for compensation. Eligible owners will receive:
- The full cost of the extra fuel owners will need to buy for the entire time the vehicle is owned by them, with the extra cost determined by the local price of gas and how much the car was driven.
- An additional 15 per cent to compensate owners for their inconvenience.
- The compensation will be issued through prepaid credit cards and will be paid as long as people own their cars.
The Competition Bureau said it registered a consent agreement so the companies would be legally required to abide by the compensation plan.
"We want to ensure that consumers are not subject to something like this in the future," bureau spokesman Greg Scott told CBC News.
The Competition Act requires that all performance claims advertised by businesses must be based on "adequate and proper testing."
The companies say the fuel rating problem was due to procedural errors during a process called "coast down" testing.
About 900,000 cars were sold worldwide with inaccurate fuel consumption ratings.
Hyundai and Kia have already begun the process of informing customers of the inaccurate fuel ratings and their restitution program.
Full information on the program and what vehicle models qualify is available at: