Jury finds magazine report on Isuzu false

Kyodo

A Los Angeles jury on Thursday found that eight of the 17 accusations in the Consumer Reports magazine against the Trooper sport-utility vehicle produced by Isuzu Motors Ltd. were false, Isuzu said.

In a press statement, Isuzu said it sees the verdict as a victory, because the federal jury found that many of the statements Consumer Union of the United States Inc. made regarding Isuzu and its 1995-1996 Trooper are false.

“Isuzu Motors Ltd. of Japan . . . is most appreciative of the legal system in the United states, which allowed Isuzu to have its day in court,” the automaker said.

But the jury stopped short of ordering the publisher to pay damages to Isuzu, saying they do not believe the publisher maliciously intended to defame the vehicle or the automaker.

The lawsuit was brought by Isuzu over a 1996 article in the magazine published by Consumers Union. The article alleged that 1995-1996 Isuzu Troopers are prone to roll over when making sudden sharp turns.

In its suit, Isuzu said the magazine’s test drivers “deliberately manipulated the Trooper to cause it to tip over in their so-called test.”

Isuzu accused the publisher of having repeatedly disparaged the Trooper, causing the carmaker to lose 25.41 billion yen in sales.

The automaker alleged that the article frightened away U.S. consumers from buying the company’s vehicles.