Hyundai is being sued in a Sacramento Superior Court for misleading consumers about the gas mileage of its 2011 and 2012 Elantra compact model.
This is the next chapter of a story that began in December of 2011 when the non-profit organization Consumer Watchdog slammed Hyundai for misleading consumers in ads for the new Elantra.
The lawsuit, which has been filed by Consumer Watchdog and the Washington, DC, law firm, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, alleges that Hyundai touted "The 40 Mile Per Gallon Elantra" in high-impact television, Internet, and print advertisements, without disclosing that it was referring to highway and not combined fuel economy numbers.
According to EPA estimates, the 2012/2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan returns 29mpg (8.1lt/100km) in the city, 40mpg (5.9lt/100km) on the highway and 33mpg (7.1lt/100km) combined.
"The omitted disclosures would have informed consumers that the car does not attain 40 MPG under most driving conditions," said Consumers Watchdog in a prepared statement.
"The illegal advertisements caused tens of thousands of California drivers to purchase or lease 2011 and 2012 Elantras and consequently incur unexpected fuel costs," the non-profit organization added.
The Consumers Watchdog release on the issue also includes a statement from Louis Bird of Sacramento, California, a 2011 Elantra owner who is representing other consumers in the class-action lawsuit.
"I feel like Hyundai took advantage of me. Hyundai's advertisements about the '40 MPG' gas mileage of the Elantra instantly caught my attention," said Bird.
"I bought the car thinking I would be seeing major savings at the pump and getting over 500 miles per tank, but Hyundai fooled me. I have not saved any money on gas and have been driving the Elantra for well over a year now. It is frustrating and disappointing. I never would have bought the Elantra in the first place if I hadn't seen Hyundai's ads boasting about gas mileage," he added.
Hyundai of America is expected to release an official statement on the matter later in the day.