HID and HPI – Complaint
A California judge has ruled in favor of a Honda dealer in a California lawsuit. The decision may open the flood gates of class-action lawsuits against other auto manufacturers claiming better fuel mileage. In November, the unemployment rate in the state was 8.1%, compared to 8.7% at the same time a year ago. In comparison to some major cities, that number is quite a good improvement.
In January, Honda announced it would bring its redesigned “Civic” car line to the United States. The car, they said, would get better fuel mileage and be built to conform with the strict California Air Resources Board guidelines. Then came the lawsuit. The company claimed that the new Civic would run even better than the outgoing model, which led to more complaints from Honda customers. According to the complaint, the car experienced “systemic and widespread” problems with Honda engines, including “unusually high wear and tear on engine parts, such as piston bearings, rings and valves; high tensile bending; and muffler deterioration.”
The complaint further claims that the dealership and its salesmen repeatedly instructed the Honda customer to keep the car for as long as possible and told the customer that “if the engine wouldn’t start, or if the car was cold, then it would be better not to go ahead with the purchase.” The dealership, according to the complaint, “also instructed the customer to place the car in gear backwards rather than in neutral when it was being inspected and to accelerate the car through a gearshift.” The complaint also says that the car was damaged after it was returned to the dealership because it was “excessively dirty, with visible signs of mold and mildew.” Honda denied all of the allegations in a statement provided to Consumer Reports.
The car manufacturer, however, did acknowledge that one of its dealership technicians had approved a repair plan for the car after it went into the shop. According to the dealer, the technician “was unaware” that the warranty for the car only covered normal wear and tear. The dealer added that it was also “not aware” that any complaints about the car’s performance could be submitted to HID or HPI and that those companies “certainly have authority to investigate and resolve such issues with car manufacturers.”
The Honda mileage lawsuit comes at a time when there are significant difficulties with car manufacturers. For one thing, General Motors has recalled millions of cars and has yet to recall the faulty cars that have already been sold. The recalls this summer included both small car models and large SUVs. It is not known whether the company will be able to successfully combat the recalls and other problems that had plagued it over the past year. Meanwhile, the car industry itself is struggling with increasing recalls and falling sales.
The dealership where the Honda mileage lawsuit occurred is also in need of financial help. Its owner owes more than $6 million in car payment expenses to different car finance companies, according to court documents. A judge has temporarily blocked the dealership from selling any more cars, but HID and HPI have so far remained unwilling to negotiate. The dealership is currently owned by the bankruptcies of several previous owners. Honda has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.