U.S. appeals court to reconsider decision on Hyundai-Kia gas mileage

2016 Kia Optima

A U.S. appeals court will think again its decision to throw out a $210 million nationwide class-action settlement for owners of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors vehicles whose fuel economy was inflated.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Friday stated a January 23 decision by a three-judge panel to decertify the 2013 settlement was no longer precedent, and an 11-judge panel will review the issue.

No explanation was provided, and no timetable was set for the so-called “en banc” rehearing.

Hyundai stated that it “continues to support the nationwide class action settlement” and is happy there will be a rehearing. Kia stated in a separate statement that it “appreciated the opportunity” to have the case reheard.

The settlement came after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered defects in Hyundai’s and Kia’s testing procedures, and the automakers reduced their fuel efficiency estimates for about 900,000 vehicles in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 model years.

In the January decision, a 2-1 majority said a lower court judge failed to evaluate if differences in state laws prevented certification of a nationwide class, and therefore approval of the settlement.

It also stated owners of used cars should not have been part of the settlement since it was not clear whether they depended on the automakers’ fuel efficiency claims.

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