Australian competition watchdog sues Honda unit over false dealership closure claims

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The Honda Motor logo is pictured at the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand March 22, 2016. Picture taken March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom/File Photo

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April 13 (Reuters) – Australia’s competition watchdog sued the local unit of Honda Motor Co (7267.T) on Wednesday, alleging the Japanese automaker falsely told customers that two of its dealerships had stopped servicing Honda vehicles.

Between January and June last year, Honda Australia informed customers of Brighton Automotive (Astoria) in Victoria and Tynan Motors in New South Wales that dealerships would no longer service Honda vehicles, the report said. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“The ACCC alleges that in emails, text messages and telephone conversations, Honda informed Astoria and Tynan customers that those businesses had closed and instructed them to contact a Honda dealership or Honda service center. to book their next service,” the watchdog said.

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But dealerships have continued to service vehicles, including Honda cars, and operate independently after ending agreements with Honda Australia in January 2021 following a unit restructuring at the automaker in May. 2019, the ACCC said.

The regulator accused Honda Australia of causing ‘damage’ to the businesses of Astoria and Tynan by falsely claiming they had closed or would close, leading to a drop in customer footfall, and sought a sanction against him in court.

Honda Australia declined to comment on the allegations as it reviewed the case, but said in an email to Reuters it had cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation.

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Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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