LOS ANGELES (CN) - Toyota inflated the Prius hybrid's miles per gallon by nearly 50 percent to sell more cars, according to a federal class-action complaint. The class claims Toyota knew from its own testing records and consumer complaints that its mileage claims were untrue, but continued its marketing campaign anyway.
Plaintiffs say Toyota tried to cover up conflicting reports by saying that driver experience "varied."
Consumer Reports reported recently that the Prius averaged 35 miles per gallon during city driving, not the 60 mpg that Toyota promised.
Toyota was able to charge more for the Prius because buyers were willing to factor their supposed fuel savings into the purchase price, the suit states.
Toyota allegedly ran its scheme by using old EPA testing methods and continuing to use old mileage estimates instead of updating as tests become more accurate. It also changed the federally mandated mileage disclaimer posted on cars from "actual mileage will vary" to the slightly more vague "actual mileage may vary," and sometimes failed to post either disclaimer, the suit states.