GM will pay SUV owners up to $1500 over faulty stickers – USA TODAY
General Motors plans to offer a prepaid debit card or an extended warranty to compensate some 135,000 owners and lessees of 2016 SUVs with overstated mileage stickers.
The automaker’s plan follows its decision earlier this month to retroactively downgrade EPA-estimated gas mileage for the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave because an updated catalytic converter for all three models had required new emissions tests — and thus, fuel economy estimates. The results dropped the SUVs’ combined mileage 1 to 2 mile per gallon, depending on the model.
To make up for the shortfall, GM will be able to choose between a prepaid debit card or an extended warranty. Amounts on the debit card vary, but most owners will get anywhere from $450 to $1,500, depending on the vehicle. The automaker says it based the compensation on the difference in fuel costs over the course of five years, assuming 15,000 annual miles and $3 per gallon.
As an alternative to the debit cards, owners can choose an extension to the vehicle’s bumper-to-bumper warranty. Designed for higher-mileage customers, this option extends the SUV’s factory bumper-to-bumper warranty from three years or 36,000 miles to four-years or 60,000 miles.
GM halted sales earlier this month of some 60,000 three-row SUVs because the window sticker had inaccurate fuel economy estimates. Sales of the SUVs — the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave — will resume when GM prints and distributes corrected window stickers with lower fuel-economy ratings. Rather than the current 19 mpg in EPA combined ratings, GM said the new ratings will be 17 or 18 mpg, depending on driveline.
“When you run that emissions data, that spits out fuel-economy data with it,” said Nick Richards, a product development spokesman for GM. “And that data set was missed last year when they were putting together their numbers that go into calculating fuel economy.”
The automaker discovered the error when it was preparing 2017 model-year labels.
“The error was identified; we’re correcting it,” Richards said. “The tests and mislabeling does not apply to previous-model-year vehicles because it was a test on ’16 model-year vehicles.”
The updated catalytic converter will stay in the SUVs moving forward. Asked if GM is using the equipment for any other vehicles, Richards did not respond.
It’s unclear why GM needed a new catalytic converter for 2016, and why that change would impact mileage so much. Richards declined to say why the automaker made the switch.