WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Kia and Hyundai have agreed to a $360 million penalty for overstating the efficiency of their vehicles, the U.S. Justice Dept. announced Monday.
The penalty, the largest ever of its kind, includes a $100 million fine, $210 million in forfeited greenhouse gas emissions credits, and $50 million for steps to ensure similar problems do not arise, including independent auditing of vehicle gas mileage.
Federal investigators determined that mileage was overstated for about 1.2 million cars sold by the two South Korean automakers in the United States for model years 2011 through 2013 -- about one-quarter of their combined fleet. In November 2012, after an investigation by the Environmental Protection Administration, Kia and Hyundai agreed to restate mileage for 1.1 million vehicles, cutting the average for their fleet from 27 to 26 mpg.
Kia and Hyundai are part of the same Korean conglomerate, although they have separate North American operations. Testing for gas mileage is carried out in South Korea.
In December, they announced a $395 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit by buyers of cars where mileage had been overstated.
"Hyundai has acted transparently, reimbursed affected customers and fully cooperated with the EPA throughout the course of its investigation," said David Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, in a statement. "We are pleased to put this behind us, and gratified that even with our adjusted fuel economy ratings, Hyundai continues to lead the automotive industry in fuel efficiency and environmental performance."