High-Mileage Blues

The “Big Three” U.S. automakers are struggling these days, but many might agree their woes are due in some part to poor manufacturing as well as poor design. While other automakers focused on fuel economy and hybrids over the past decade, the Big Three continued to crank out gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles.

However, not everyone is pleased with the newer cars. In fact, there have been lawsuits filed against Honda claiming it made false claims about gas mileage for its Honda Civic Hybrid vehicle. The first lawsuit was filed in 2005 with the complaint that an owner’s Honda Civic Hybrid’s mileage actually got less than half the advertised mileage. The advertising stated that the Hybrid would get the advertised mileage when driven like a conventional automobile. Honda acknowledged that it had received numerous complaints that the Honda Civic Hybrid’s mileage did not meet claims. The car manufacturer also stated it had contacted the EPA to adjust the mileage rating.

Still, on January 12, 2009, a California appeals court ruled that a Honda Civic Hybrid owner can sue Honda for false advertising. The case will be tried in trial court. I guess the motto of this story is, be careful what you advertise!