General Motors has admitted it overstated the mileage shown on the 2016 window stickers of its popular large crossover SUVs. They will provide customers who purchased 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave SUVs with up to $1,500 prepaid debit cards or an extension of their warranty.
The amount of money that customers receive will be based on the model that they own or lease and the specific terms of the leases. For most, the compensation will be between $450 and $900, but some all-wheel drive customers will receive the top payments of $1,500. The compensation is intended to reimburse customers for the extra fuel that the vehicles will consume compared to their earlier fuel economy estimates.
Customers can also choose a warranty extension to four years or 60,000 miles (from the original three-year/36,000 mile warranty) in lieu of the prepaid debit card. Buyers and lessees are expected to receive notices of eligibility this month, according to GM. The company says around 170,000 of the vehicles were sold or leased before the problem was discovered, with some of those sales to fleet and commercial customers.
Following a short stop-sale order, new window stickers are being applied to 2016 Traverse, Acadia, and Enclave models on dealer lots. The updated stickers reflect a one to two mile per gallon reduction in fuel economy. For example, the original 2016 GMC Acadia front-wheel drive window sticker showed EPA-estimated mileage of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The updated figures for the 2016 are 15/city and 22/highway.
According to the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov mileage comparison tool, the reduction in estimated mileage will cost a consumer who drives their vehicle 15,000 miles per year, in a mix of city and highway driving, $100 more each year for fuel.
The Buick Enclave is tied for U.S. News & World Report’s No. 1 ranking among large SUVs with the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. The Chevrolet Traverse is ranked No. 4, and the 2016 GMC Acadia is ranked 11th in the category. The Acadia will soon be replaced in showrooms with a redesigned model that is significantly smaller and lighter than the 2016 model.
GM’s updated mileage figures will put their crossovers behind competitors including the Ford Explorer with its estimates of 17 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway when equipped with a base engine. Explorers equipped with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine are rated to get up to 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.
With the fallout from the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal still in the headlines, automakers are quicker to respond to issues and more upfront with solutions. General Motors self-reported the problem to regulators and moved with lightning speed to come up with a solution for their customers. The EPA has asked GM for more information about the issue.
Automakers Mitsubishi and Suzuki have acknowledged that they overstated fuel economy for their vehicles in Japan and are currently dealing with the fallout from that.
GM blames the discrepancy on new emissions control equipment used in the 2016 crossover models. They’ve already sent replacement window stickers to dealers, and they’re in the process of changing the numbers in all of the product marketing and advertising channels.
While GM says the problem only affects the 2016 models, at least one outlet is questioning whether the issue is more widespread. Consumer Reports reported that their testing has shown discrepancies larger than they typically see between their numbers and the EPA numbers for several years.
It’s too early to tell what, if any, effect the reduction in mileage estimates will have on the resale value of the vehicles.