Last Wednesday, General Motors issued a massive stop-sale on 2016 models of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia. The problem? The EPA labels on those vehicles overstated fuel economy. Replacement labels were to arrive on Saturday.
Unfortunately for GM, 170,000 of those SUVs had already been sold. Now, the company is working on a plan to compensate the people who bought them.
GM has blamed the overstatement on new hardware related to the SUV's emissions systems, which wasn't considered when EPA efficiency calculations were made. As a result, fuel economy for the Enclave, Traverse, and Acadia was overstated by around two miles per gallon. For example, on all-wheel-drive models, the incorrect label stated that the SUVs earn 17 city, 24 highway, and 19 combined, when in fact they earn 15 city, 22 highway, and 17 combined.
Sources close to the matter have said that GM will likely announce details of the compensation package within the coming week. There's no word on how that package might look, but since there's already a class-action lawsuit pending, and since the firm representing Buick, Chevy, and GMC owners is the same one retained by Hyundai and Kia owners when something similar happened at those companies, the settlement might be similar, too. (For reference, the $395 million Hyundai/Kia package offered several options, including a lump sum payout, an annual payout, and a dealership credit.)
Our take? By all appearances, General Motors acted swiftly to address this problem once it was discovered, and it doesn't seem that there was any intent to deceive shoppers. But while we're inclined to applaud GM--unlike, say, Mitsubishi, which let much worse problems linger for 25 years--we'll reserve judgment until the matter works its way through the courts.