General Motors is going to do something for owners of some 135,000-150,000 crossovers with overinflated fuel economy numbers. But despite claiming it acted fast to admit and fix the problem, the automaker’s image is taking another hit.
Earlier this month, GM announced it had accidentally mislabeled some fuel economy numbers on the the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave by one to two miles a gallon, or 12 percent. It temporarily issued a stop-sale for those models while it shipped new stickers with corrected figures to dealers.
To make nice with owners of incorrectly marked vehicles, the automaker will hand out debit cards worth between $450 and $1,500 each, according to Automotive News. GM says it is basing reimbursement amounts on the EPA formula used for window labels: “a fuel price of $3 per gallon and 15,000 miles of annual driving for five years.” Some owners will get the option of an extended free warranty.
The mistake could cost the company about $100 million in reimbursements, according to Reuters.
“We want all of our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we designed this reimbursement program to provide full and fair compensation in a simple, flexible and timely manner,” says GM spokesman Jim Cain.
GM says the problem is engineers made some changes to pollution-control software in the ’16 models, but the new data didn’t get calculated into the updated fuel numbers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked GM to provide testing data. Meanwhile, one class-action lawsuit has already been filed by a Florida owner of a 2016 SUV and some are questioning other GM vehicles in the fuel economy department, as well.
GM’s admission comes amid a climate of mistrust in the industry, following the Volkswagen diesel scandal and its own ignition-switch scandal. Just last week, the federal government announced GM will stay under strict oversight for an additional year in wake of its ignition-switch scandal.
“GM learned a hard lesson last year. We expect to see the improvements they’ve made continue and that their new approaches are applied to every GM safety issue and every recall. Today’s action will help keep them on the right track,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx
Last May, the company agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty and to take part in unprecedented oversight requirements as a results of the automaker’s failure to report the safety defect in a timely manner.