GM has responded promptly to erroneous fuel economy claims for some of its 2016 SUVs. The models involved are the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave. The window stickers on those vehicles were inaccurate. On average, they claimed the vehicles actually got about 2 miles per gallon better gas mileage than they actually did. The correct numbers are now posted on the EPA website. Corrected window stickers have been placed on all unsold vehicles.
GM says it will offer owners of those vehicles a debit card worth between $450 and $1,500 to compensate them for the fact they have spent more money for gasoline than anticipated, based upon the incorrect numbers provided at the time of purchase. About 135,000 customers are affected. The company said it would notify dealers of the plan Friday and send letters to customers via Federal Express starting Wednesday of next week.
People who purchased one of the affected vehicles will be able to choose whether to accept the debit card or an extended warranty on their vehicles. The warranty offer extends factory coverage to 4 years/60,000 miles. The basic factory warranty is 3 years/36,000 miles. Lease customers will be offered only the debit card option. According to Reuters and Bloomberg, the program will cost General Motors about $100,000,000 in total.
A company spokesperson said “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.” He said the plan “will not materially impact our financial results.”
GM says the mistake was “inadvertent.” The company made changes to the pollution control systems installed in 2016 model year vehicles that led to the lower fuel economy numbers, but the new information was not communicated to the EPA or to those responsible for printing the window stickers and other marketing materials.
Consumer Reports is skeptical. GM has been building essentially the same vehicle with the same powertrain for nearly a decade. CR says these vehicles have been underperforming in its fuel economy testing for years. In today’s regulatory environment where fuel economy standards are being ratcheted up significantly, it is unusual for a company to market a car that gets worse fuel economy than its predecessors.
Is their more to the GM story than an inadvertent clerical error? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Source: Automotive News Photo credit: Rebecca Cook/Reuters