Inaccurate Mileage Stickers to Cost GM

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press/TNS) -

General Motors said Friday it will compensate customers who purchased certain 2016 crossover vehicles whose window stickers overstated the vehicles’ fuel economy.

Those customers, who number about 135,000, will receive debit cards worth $450 to $900 or extended warranties, depending on a number of factors.

The vehicles involved — their window stickers overstated fuel economy by 1 mpg or 2 mpg — are the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Two weeks ago, the Detroit-area automaker asked Chevy and Buick-GMC dealers to stop selling the models until the dealers received new labels with accurate information certified by GM and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Leasing customers will be offered the debit cards, most of which will be worth between $450 and $900, depending on whether the vehicle is front-wheel or all-wheel drive and the length of the lease. The reimbursement also factors in the EPA formula that assumes a fuel price of $3 per gallon and 15,000 miles of annual driving for five years.

Meanwhile, a 48-month, 60,000-mile protection plan is being extended to high-mileage customers who plan to keep their vehicles for an extended period of time.

GM declined to say what the offer will cost, but if all owners selected a debit card, and the average card was worth about $675 (the average of $450 and $900), the cost would be about $90 million.

The company said the window sticker discrepancy was related to new emissions-related hardware in the 2016 models of the vehicles. In the process of testing that hardware, engineers discovered the actual fuel economy was 1 mpg or 2 mpg lower than on the 2015 models, but the window labels on the 2016 models had not been changed.

Earlier last week, Consumer Reports suggested the discrepancy may have occurred on older models of the three crossovers. But GM will only offer this option to those owning or leasing the 2016 will be reimbursed.

GM informed dealers of the reimbursement plan Friday. Owners of the vehicles will receive letter delivered by Federal Express, beginning May 25.