Court Allows Deceptive Ad Claim Over Honda Hybrid

     (CN) – A California appeals court allowed a car buyer to proceed with his claim that Honda falsely advertises how drivers can achieve high gas mileage in their Honda hybrids.




     Plaintiff Gaetano Paduano bought a new 2004 Honda Civic hybrid based on the publicized fuel efficiency ratings for the car, but was unhappy with the actual gas mileage. He said he consistently achieved about half of the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy estimate printed on the car label.
     He said a Honda advertising brochure highlighted the EPA’s estimated 47 to 51 mpg, while he had “consistently gotten 23 to 30 miles per gallon.”
     Honda representatives allegedly told him that the cars required a “break-in” period, and that Paduano needed to drive them in a certain way to achieve improved mileage.
     The 4th Appellate District Court of Appeal dismissed Paduano’s warranty claims, but ruled that a federal law regulating fuel economy standards does not pre-empt his deceptive advertising claim. The court said Honda’s brochure included statements that could be considered deceptive or misleading.
     “(W)e conclude that there exists a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Honda’s advertising statements that suggest that a consumer can drive a Civic Honda in the same manner as a conventional vehicle and achieve the superior fuel economy estimates in the EPA estimates, are deceptive and/or misleading,” Justice Aaron wrote.
     Justice Terry O’Rourke dissented in part, saying he would affirm judgment for Honda on all claims.

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