The move reflects the increasing scrutiny global automakers are facing after a diesel emission scandal that has rocked Volkswagen. G.M. will offer debit cards of $450 to $900 to people who bought a 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave or GMC Acadia. In place of the debit cards, customers may opt for increasing the warranty coverage to 48 months or 60,000 miles, from 36 months or 36,000 miles. Lease customers will be offered only debit cards, the company said in a statement. The compensation plan was announced a week after G.M. revealed that it had overstated the mileage of the 2016 Traverse, Enclave and Acadia by one or two miles a gallon and notified dealers to replace the window stickers on about 60,000 affected models in stock. It briefly halted sales of the models while the stickers were being corrected. Suzuki Motor said it had used improper methods to determine the fuel economy of 16 vehicles it sells in Japan. In April, Mitsubishi Motors acknowledged it cheated on gas mileage tests in Japan for the last 25 years, a revelation that caused a plunge in its stock price, the resignation of its president, Tetsuro Aikawa, and the sale of a 34 percent stake in the company to Nissan Motor. “This is the new era we live in, where there’s enough testing and oversight that if any manufacturer isn’t completely straight on the numbers, it’s going to be exposed,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst at the auto research firm Kelley Blue Book. “The good news is that the G.M. case shows customers will get compensation if there is an issue.” G.M. told dealers of its compensation plan on Friday. The compensation was calculated based on an assumed gasoline price of $3 a gallon and an average owner driving of 15,000 miles a year. At first, G.M. attributed the discrepancy in mileage estimates to misprinted window stickers. But on Friday, the company said it had installed additional emissions controls on the 2016 versions of the Traverse, Acadia and Enclave, and that change was not accounted for when it calculated fuel economy estimates required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We want all of our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we designed this reimbursement program to provide full and fair compensation in a simple, flexible and timely manner,” Jim Cain, a G.M. spokesman, said. Automakers have come under increasing pressure since Volkswagen’s admission in September that it had equipped its most popular diesel cars with “defeat devices” that cheat on emissions tests by turning on pollution controls when in the lab, and shutting them off in real-world driving. About 11 million vehicles are affected worldwide. At the request of the Justice Department, Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, is conducting an internal investigation of its certification process for diesel exhaust emissions. German authorities are looking into whether G.M.’s Opel division and Italy’s Fiat use engine software that turns off pollution controls. South Korean officials recently accused the Japanese automaker Nissan Motor of cheating on emissions tests.
The diesel cheating scandal has rocked Volkswagen, which until recently ranked as one of the world’s most profitable automakers. Since September, it has replaced its chief executive and other top managers, suffered a slump in sales in the United States and earmarked $18 billion to cover lawsuits, vehicle recalls and other costs related to the scandal.