By on June 18, 2016

2014 Buick Enclave Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

It looks like a gas card mailout didn’t take all the heat off of General Motors.

After compensating owners of its full-size 2016 crossovers in the wake of the recent fuel economy controversy, a class action lawsuit filed in a California court is pointing the finger at older models and demanding the automaker pay up.

Back in May, GM revealed an “inadvertent error” caused incorrect EPA fuel economy ratings to show up in the window stickers of 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers. The stickers overstated the vehicles’ mileage by one to two miles per gallon. After a stop sale order, a label swap and the hasty rollout of a customer compensation plan, GM’s woes weren’t over.

A report in Consumer Reports questioned the fuel economy readings of older versions of the afflicted models, which have the same powertrain as new models. The publication looked back at previous tests and found the real-world mileage of the models were two to three miles per gallon below their EPA rating, or similar to the revised economy of the 2016 models.

The class action lawsuit, first revealed by GMInsideNews, targets 2009–2016 versions of the Lambda platform triplets and accuses GM of “deceptive marketing.” The suit alleges the models don’t achieve the advertised 19 mpg combined fuel economy rating, and that the automaker essentially charged a “price premium” for the vehicles.

The plaintiff and class members’ argument is the same one laid out by Consumer Reports — that the older vehicles “all have substantially the same engines, weights, sizes and shapes and, thus, should achieve substantially identical gas mileage.”

Because the suit covers millions of vehicles sold since “at least the beginning of 2009,” potential damages are pegged at more than $5 million.

In response to the report questioning the mileage of its older vehicles, GM stated that “no other models or model years were affected.”

[Source: GMInsideNews]

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14 Comments on “Class Action Lawsuit Targets Gas Mileage of Older GM Crossovers...”


  • avatar
    Michael McDonald

    I find this as people digging for more money. GM realized a mistake, whether or not it was on purpose, I feel like they took proper steps to take care of it. 1 or 2 MPG isn’t a big deal. 5? OK – I could then MAYBE see a lawsuit, but 1 or 2 isn’t worth it when GM has already sent out reimbursement. Lawsuit happy country…

  • avatar

    I should have gone into the family business and been a lawyer.

    Instead of working hard for money, I can just use legal technicalities and government muscle to STEAL IT.

    Imagine how much I could make off of alligator infested swamps?

  • avatar
    Russycle

    “the real-world mileage of the models were two to three miles per gallon below their EPA rating…”

    How did they measure that? There’s so many variables that go into real-world mileage that we even have an acronym for it: YMMV.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In Consumer Reports’ case, they do a fairly controlled test that, frankly, tends to be more realistic than the EPA figures.

      The legal issue GM (or any OEM) faces is if they knew the vehicles would perform much better when run specifically on the EPA cycle and either charged more or got conquest sales for it. Everyone sort of understood that EPA was either best-case or that results were often gamed, but there’s blood in the water due to Volkswagen’s gross flaunting of the rules and people are going to be looking closely at overt deviance from published results.

  • avatar
    14Tundra

    My wife has a 2015 Traverse. It actually does a little better than the window sticker. It’s actually pretty inline with the numbers that GM just got in trouble for. It’s been a great family hauler so far.

    Hers is an LS model with the base 17″ wheels. That probably has a lot to do with it.

  • avatar
    tedward

    How exactly does the epa test work with respect to trim levels? If they only test one trim level and it has to represent a certain volume of sales then Gm could have changed their build mix and caused a heavier trim level to be the new volume category. That could explain it, but I’m trying really hard here to come up with a scenario where only a partial category would need the restatement.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    GM isn’t that stupid it wasn’t aware of the deficient FE results from the vehicle.

    GM would have a massive data base with the FE performance of ALL it’s vehicles.

    A variation in FE even within the same models, trims, mod/dev status would of been collected.

    If people believe the formula used by the manufacters of “similar” platforms, engine/drivetrain configurations is the only way in which vehicle manufacturers can assess FE usage are dreaming.

    GM knew all along. Is it worth persuing? It’s according how bad the “error” is.

    This highlights the fact that most FE figures are not that reliable and manufacturers will lie and use whatever to covers their a$$es.

    It’s all about them and not the consumer at the end of the day.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    Imagine! The “stomp (on the accelerator), tap and flick (their mobile devices), slam (the brake pedal)” group of drivers are unhappy about not achieving advertised FE ratings! Gotta beat the other vehicles to the next traffic light. Don’t want to take responsibility and learn a bit of finesse at the helm, so, must bring action against the manufacturer. Yep!

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      A million times this. Most folks drive, especially in this age of mobile devices, with zero situational awareness. Or, as I like to call it, “foot to the floor, brain in neutral.” Everyone is just absorbed in their mobile device and they drive solely based on the car in front of them, no more. Now we have car length gaps at traffic lights because people see brake lights out of the corner of their eye and brake accordingly. But they just stop when they see no more relative movement, not distance. Infuriating when trying to get out of a side street or make the turn lane.

      Traverse and family are big and heavy. I had one as a rental and wasn’t impressed by any of it. Even in mostly flat Hotlanta the mileage wasn’t great, but still within the EPA range( the little numbers below the big numbers on the Moroney). The one I had only had 2000 miles on it, possibly a factor.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    This was a TTAC story years ago. The Traverse could not come close to its highway rating. No surprise considering its weight and engine displacement. The jibber jabber discussed back then was all about how GM was expert at gaming the EPA test. A few brought up some tricks used like skip shift (not on the Traverse of course) and other means to game the test. So, nothing new here folks. It does make one think why the focus is always on the better highway number. In the “old” days the law required that the city number be highlighted in advertisements. That was a target for Reagan’s “war” on regulations IIRC. Maybe the focus today should be on the combined rating.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “It does make one think why the focus is always on the better highway number. In the “old” days the law required that the city number be highlighted in advertisements. That was a target for Reagan’s “war” on regulations IIRC.”

      The highway number is always the big one in non-hybrid vehicles. Advertising the city figure would be like me advertising my calculus mark on my highschool transcript. :)

      “Maybe the focus today should be on the combined rating.”

      The new EPA sticker does exactly that, but it doesn’t stop dealers and OEMs from advertising the highway number.

      There’s a few things the EPA could do:
      * Move to L/100km (or g/100mile), which isn’t as easy to play mind-games with.
      * Don’t allow OEMs or dealers to advertise the highway number, except in small print.

      It might also help to add more randomization to the test to make it more like CR’s, but I don’t know if that’s feasible.

  • avatar
    Ko1

    I’m reminded of a rant that Jim Kenzie did on TSN’s Motoring. Apparently, GM’s biggest customer complaint about the Hummer H2 was that it gives horrible gas mileage.

    “You people buy a big, heavy 4×4 SUV with a big V8 engine and huge tires and then you’re ~surprised~ that it gives bad gas mileage?! How do these people find the bathroom at night?!”

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    OMG, I SAW A BUICK ENVISION COMMERCIAL TONIGHT!!!

    It featured a suburban white couple who had a toddler that was finding it difficult to fall asleep, so dad took him out for night time car ride IN HIS CHINESE PARTS-COMPRISED AND CHINESE ASSEMBLED BUICK ENVISION THAT GENERAL MOTORS NEVER ONCE MENTIONS IS 100% A CHINESE VEHICLE THROUGH AND THROUGH.

    It a not a your fader’s Bruick!!!

  • avatar
    traversebill

    Ok, so I get the letter from GM about the settlement for my 2016 Traverse. On that site they suggest that you look at 3 lawsuits that have been filed. Some in CA and one that mentions older models going back to 2009. I had a 2010 and 2013. My question is: if I take the gift card for the 2016 am I still eligible for a lawsuit for the earlier models? I didn’t see anything in the disclaimer and agreement for the gift card. Will there be notice of a class action lawsuit coming for the older models? You have until the end of July to take the $900 card.

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