Remember Heather Peters, the attorney who is suing Honda? Well, if a recent article by Automotive.com’s Jacob Brown is any guide, her lawsuit might be the equivalent of Honda’s IMA hybrid system: unpopular, mostly ignored, and unable to operate without serious help from outside forces.
The Friday hearing debated damages, the purportedly diminished resale value of Peters’ Civic, and the fuel economy numbers a car like hers could achieve. Peters has said that she is averaging 29 mpg in a car rated almost twice that. But it came up Peters wouldn’t let her local Honda dealership test her car for fuel economy because Honda said it didn’t want her to post footage of it on her site before the appeals court date.
In the hearing, Peters claimed the Honda’s battery in its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system would not hold a charge, dropping her fuel economy well below its factory-rated 50 mpg. Technical expert Neil Schmidt countered in testimony that, according to records from her Honda dealership, Peters’ car had never had service problems and that her tires showed excessive wear on their outside shoulders, a sign of aggressive driving. Peters said she was not a lead-foot driver, but Honda attorney Roy Brisbois introduced the fact that her last four cars were two BMW Z3 roadsters, a BMW X5, and a Mazda RX-8—none of which are exactly vehicles for the unsporting driver.
Mr. Brown appears virtually alone among the automotive media in his willingness to genchi-genbutsu. Ironically, that’s a Honda catchphrase, meaning “go to the actual spot, see the actual situation”. We will keep you posted on his coverage as it appears.