Katzkin Leather, Inc. has launched a lawsuit in the U.S., accusing Nissan of fear mongering.
Katzkin, one of the largest manufacturers of leather interior upgrades for the automotive aftermarket, and Sun Auto Tops, Inc., a restyler and one of Katzkin’s largest distributors and installers, has filed a lawsuit against Nissan North America, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
The suit alleges that Nissan engaged in unfair, deceptive, untrue and/or misleading advertising, unfair business practices, as well as intentional and negligent interference in Katzkin’s business relationships, either directly or indirectly, with Nissan’s independently owned and operated new vehicle dealerships throughout the United States.
The lawsuit focuses on Nissan’s threat of increased liability exposure for dealerships that install (or facilitate the installation of) aftermarket leather interiors in any vehicle equipped with Occupant Detection Systems or Occupant Classification Systems.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 will make such sensors mandatory in all new vehicles by September 1, 2006.
The lawsuit alleges that Nissan used this threat, one not based on any facts, to promote sales of its own leather interiors over those manufactured by Katzkin. Katzkin and Sun Auto Tops seek both injunctive relief and monetary damages from Nissan.
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