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Honda loses court case over hybrid mpg
Honda has lost a court case in America over the claimed economy of its Civic Hybrid and has been forced to pay out £6,244 in punitive damages to the vehicles Californian owner.
The Japanese manufacturer claims the American-spec Civic Hybrid will return fuel economy of up to 50mpg, or 60mpg when converted to UK figures.
However, the vehicles owner, Heather Peters, claims her vehicle returned nowhere near Honda’s quoted figures, achieving no more than 30mpg once the hybrid vehicle’s on board battery began to deteriorate.
Peters chose to take the case to the small claims court in the US instead of joining the separate class action lawsuit other Civic Hybrid owners have brought against Honda.
In response to the class action suit brought by other Civic Hybrid owners, Honda has proposed a settlement of between £63 and £126 per owner and a £633 discount towards buying a new car.
However, Peters’ success in the small claims court could spark a trend of owners unhappy with their vehicle’s economy launching legal action against manufacturers.
The damages awarded to Peters were said to be for extra money spent on fuel in the past and for the future, plus the cost of the car’s battery, and the decrease in value as a result of the problems the vehicle experienced.
The judge’s 26-page ruling outlined Peters had correctly identified a number of misrepresentations by Honda, including that the vehicle would use “amazingly little fuel”, “provide plenty of horsepower while still sipping fuel” and that it would “save plenty of money on fuel with up to 50mpg during city driving”.
A Honda spokesman said the firm disagreed with the ruling and had plans to appeal. A ruling on the class action suit will be made when the case comes in front of the American courts in March.
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