Hyundai and Kia are taking their battle against the four biggest railroads in the United States to court.
According to a report published by Reuters, the two South Korean automakers are filing charges against BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad over fuel surcharges for the shipping of their vehicles between 2003 and 2007.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the four railroad companies charged the two foreign automakers a ton of other fees under the pretense of “fuel recovery surcharges.” Hyundai and Kia are claiming the said railroad companies profited billions of dollars through these fees.
It’s not clear, however, how much the car companies paid to the railroads. But what has been made clear so far is that the lawsuit is seeking triple damages from the defendants.
Hyundai and Kia filed the lawsuit near their U.S. headquarters in Santa Ana, California. Hyundai owns more than a third of Kia, which is also part of the Hyundai Motor Group.
The lawsuit was revealed to be heavily based on an independent study conducted in 2007, which detailed the surcharges imposed by the railroad companies exceeding the actual cost of fuel by $6 billion.
Following the charges filed by Hyundai and Kia, Mercedes-Benz USA also filed a lawsuit against the same railroad companies for the same reason.
At the moment, none of the four railroad companies has released a statement in response to the lawsuits. It also remains to be seen if other automakers will follow suit.