Those economy cars turned out not to be so economical.
Hyundai and Kia, two South Korean automakers making inroads in the U.S., will have to pay a record $100 million penalty to the Environmental Protection Agency because its cars were less fuel efficient than advertised.
Attorney General Eric Holder said at a Monday press conference that the settlement would send an "unmistakable message" to automakers.
"The U.S. Department of Justice will never rest in our determination to protect American consumers," he said.
In addition to the penalty, Hyundai and partly-owned Kia will also give up $200 million in emissions credits. Add that on top of a nearly $400 million class action lawsuit by car owners, Reuters reports.
The difference was about 1 to 2 miles per gallon. On a car that gets 30 miles per gallon, that means real efficiency was 3 to 6 percent below what was advertised.
Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on twitter at @GavinStern or email him at email@example.com.