A New Jersey jury has awarded $6 million in a class action lawsuit against Kia Motors America Inc. Plaintiffs complained that the Kia Sephia sedan, sold in the late 1990s, had a defective brake system.
Consumers charged that the Sephia's brakes didn't dissipate heat properly, causing the pads and rotors to wear out at 10,000-mile intervals, causing motorists to incur expenses not covered by Kia's warranty.
The jury's verdict covers about 8,450 people who purchased the Sephia between 1997 and 2000. Each will receive about $750, the estimated cost of repairing the brakes.
The company said it would appeal the jury's verdict, which came after a three-week trial in Union County, N.J.
Alex Fedorak, director of public relations at KIA Motors America Inc., said in a statement that Kia honored its warranties and offered free coupons to Sephia owners for those with three complaints about the braking systems.
But Alan Feldman, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said that 95 percent of the consumers covered in the suit paid for the repairs themselves and were denied reimbursement.
The Union County verdict follows a $5.6 million verdict in a suit against Kia in Pennsylvania in 2005. A 47-state settlement that same year provided only $60,000 for the class and exempted Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.