After the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal, the auto world buzzed about other automakers potentially having the same problem. News that Mitsubishi deliberately misled consumers for decades about actual mpg ratings on its vehicles only added to the debate. Last week, General Motors issued a stop order on sales of its 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, and crossovers over misstated mpg stickers.
Rather than drag its heels, GM acted quickly to address the matter.
One week after the stop-sale order, GM said in a statement that it will offer debit cards to the owners and lessees of these 2106 crossovers as compensation for buying vehicles with overstated fuel economy estimates.
About 135,000 customers will be notified of the offer via FedEx letters starting Wednesday, May 25. GM dealers have already been notified of the plan.
How the Plan Works
If you’re an owner of a 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave or GMC Acadia, GM will give you the choice of a debit card or an extended warranty on your purchased GM large crossover. Lessees will only receive a debit card offer.
The average value of the debit card will range from $450 to $900. GM said that some lessees with short-term leases and a low mileage limit may receive less than $450 in a debit card. A small number of purchasers of the crossovers with the widest mpg discrepancy may receive up to $1,500.
The extended warranty, or protection-plan, option offered to buyers only is for 48 months/60,000 miles. That’s an increase of 12 months/24,000 miles over the original vehicle warranty of 36 months/36,000 miles.
“We want all of our customers to have a great experience, so we designed this reimbursement program to provide full and fair compensation in a simple, flexible and timely manner,” said a GM spokesman in a statement from the company.
How this Issue Came to Light
GM said it discovered an “inadvertent” error that ultimately led to the EPA fuel economy stickers on the vehicles overstating the actual fuel economy by 1 to 2 mpg, depending on the model.
What happened was that some pollution control hardware was changed for the 2016 model year. This resulted in the EPA ratings being recalculated.
But those recalculations never made it to print, either in GM’s own marketing materials or to the EPA.
The correct EPA ratings for the all-wheel drive versions of the three GM crossovers are 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway/17 mpg combined. The stickers listed the ratings as 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 mpg combined.
On front-wheel drive versions, the correct EPA ratings are 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway/18 mpg combined. These were also incorrectly listed on the vehicles’ stickers.
All incorrect window stickers were replaced on vehicles remaining on dealer lots and GM has resumed sales of 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers.
According to a report in Automotive News, there’s been no word whether the EPA plans to fine GM for the incorrect mpg ratings. At least one lawsuit has already been filed on the matter.