A class-action lawsuit between American Honda Motor Co. and plaintiffs who claimed the Japanese automaker overstated fuel-economy figures on Honda Civic Hybrids has been approved by a San Diego Superior Court Judge.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the lawsuit involves about 460,000 people who either owned or leased 2003 to 2009 Civic Hybrids. The settlement grants the plaintiffs $100 in cash and a credit towards a new Honda of between $500 and $1,000. Honda may end up paying out more than $460 million, including legal fees of more than $8.1 million, the newspaper said.

The decision was more than four years in the making. The class-action claim stemmed from a 2007 lawsuit by John True, who sued the automaker and alleged that Honda misled him about the Civic Hybrid's fuel economy. Some of the plaintiffs said their Honda Civic Hybrids got as little as 30 miles per gallon, far less than the 50 mpg Honda advertised, and that a software upgrade to the hybrids batteries actually reduced fuel economy further.

American Honda, in a March 16 statement, said it was "pleased" with the court's decision (see the full statement after the jump), and called it a "fair resolution."

Last month, a California woman was awarded almost $10,000 in a California small claims court against Honda. Heather Peters declined to join the class-action claim because she thought the class-action settlement wasn't fair to Honda owners. Last week, the Associated Press reported that Peters used her small-claims award to appeal to the San Diego Superior Court Judge for the class-action settlement to be cancelled. Honda says it is appealing the Peters decision.
Show full PR text
Official statement from honda:

Statement by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Re: Lockabey v. Honda Class Action Settlement, 3/16/2012

Honda is pleased with the court's approval of this settlement as a fair resolution for our customers that demonstrates our desire to preserve our good relationship with Civic Hybrid owners who chose to participate in this class action.

We are never happy when a customer is anything less than satisfied with one of our products, but it is important to note that the court record includes comments from many owners who took the time to express both their satisfaction with their Civic Hybrid and that they regularly achieve fuel economy that meets or exceeds the original EPA mileage estimates.

Regarding the continued efforts of attorney and small claims court litigant Heather Peters to criticize the settlement and encourage Honda customers to believe they would find greater benefit by pursuing individual small claims actions, the judge correctly pointed out that class members will receive the multiple benefits of the settlement and can still seek arbitration with no maximum award – while even a successful small claims judgment has award limits.

Further, the judge noted Peters' "silence" on the fact that several small claims cases – including those she has supported – have been decided in Honda's favor. For the record, since January, six small claims cases brought by Civic Hybrid owners have been heard in small claims court and Honda has prevailed in all of them except the Peters case, which is currently under appeal.

While we have achieved a fair resolution with this settlement, we value nothing more than the trust that our customers place in Honda and our products, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect and preserve that trust.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least the lawyers are happy. Personally, I would want the settlement to be at least $1 more than whatever the profit is on a particular model. If Honda makes $600 profit on a car, and I get a $500 voucher, I don't see how that bothers them very much. Seriously Honda....wtf? Late 1980's early 90's....you guys were the Apple of automakers. When one of the people here, Spec maybe, pointed out the age, power, and efficiency of the Honda engines, compared to Ford. Ford! I was just shocked.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      One good thing about a Hybrid, with a better battery you get better performance and economy. Hybrid-Battery.com has a better battery. And it should improve every year.
      • 2 Years Ago
      i like ur blog
      Spiffster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Type your comment here100 bucks...lol, what a complete rip-off! Only one that benefits from a class action suit, is the lawyer. 8.1 million... LOL! Do you really think they actually earned that sum of money, because they certainly dont deserve it.
        EZEE
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @Spiffster
        In Florida the government sued the Tobacco companies for producing something people want. The State set up a seal with the lawyers, what their percentage would be, and the trial was on! Glory be, the State won! And won big. An absolute pile of money. So the lawyers dust off the deal and say, "well, at this percentage, which you agree with, we get $10 billion." (no, really). So the state sees that and starts screaming about how unfair it is, excessive. People with pitchforks and torches show up at the captal screaming. I thought to myself - "Effing morons. Stupid, effing morons. You saw what they were suing for...you knew what the percentage would be, and NOW you are mad that you WON and they got what you promised them?" Dumb politicians and dumb people is more like it. Don't get me wrong, not a fan of lawyers, but the percentages are all set up ahead of time. With class actions, people pretty much know ahead of time the number of people, the total settlement, and the lawyer's percentage.
        Spiffster
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @Spiffster
        BTW, the commenting system is a complete piece of ****... just sayin.
      centeredtype
      • 2 Years Ago
      wow $100 bucks and 500-1000 voucher. what a slap in the face. originally it was $200 and a $1,000 voucher and I thought that was low. dont give us a voucher! give us the dam 1k in cash! um hi! honda here. We sold you a shitty car so heres a coupon to buy another shitty car from us.
        Ford Future
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @centeredtype
        Honda also give you a "Loyalty" discount of $500 if you buy a replacement Honda.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Probably the hybrid system from honda is dragging the car instead of helping it. It is a weak copy of the toyota system that is better conceived. most of the time it's the first idea that is the good one and toyota was first, honda is me too. Don't buy anything that is a second idea like for exemple a bev, at first all car engineers said that is was a poor technology and that the battery was the problem. They forgot hydrogen for batteries because goverments and big oil mandated these products and gave subsidies to battery only in the hope to escape hydrogen and promote petrol and bev is a tailored flop commercially, economically, culturally, technologically, socially, medially, legally, financially, geo-politically, environmently, etc.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hi & Good day! On behalf of Honda Malaysia, we would like to share the following update with you. Please do assist in highlighting this to help rectify the misconception formed over this issue. Thank you. * * * Dear Members of the Media, Good afternoon. Recently in the past few months, there has been an email circulating to you all by Ms. Latifah Emir regarding our Civic Hybrid which she purchased. In the email, she made some false accusations about our products (IMA battery) being faulty and also about Honda Malaysia. Due to the sensitivity of the case as it was under Judicial Review, we restrained to make comments or give any statements regarding that matter. On the 28th of March 2012, the Kuala Lumpur High Court through Judicial Review R2-25-249-09/2011, in favor of Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd & our Authorized Dealer Kah Motor Co Sdn Bhd, quashed the decision of the Consumer Tribunal after finding that the claim made by Ms. Latifah Emir was unsustainable. This put an end to the allegation by Ms. Latifah that the Honda Civic Hybrid’s IMA battery was a faulty product. The High Court acknowledged that Honda’s IMA battery is not a defective product as claimed by Ms. Latifah Emir. The legal pursuit has ended in favor of Honda by proving that it had not misinformed its customers or the general public at any point in time about its Hybrid technology products. We sincerely hope that this statement clarifies any doubts of Honda’s Hybrid Technology that was created by Ms. Latifah Emir over these past few months. Please do not hesitate to contact the Honda PR Department at 03-7718 9231 for further clarifications. Thank you. * * *