Nissan will provide minority vehicle buyers loans with no dealer markups under a legal agreement revealed last week.
The company also will pay to educate consumers about lending.
Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. reached a $7.6 million settlement with black and Hispanic consumers in February.
Details of the settlement were released last week.
Stuart Rossman, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, says the Nissan case is the first in a series of lawsuits pending against the finance arms of auto companies alleging discriminatory leading practices. He says a lawsuit against General Motors Acceptance Corp. is scheduled for trial in February.
"We believe the settlement is a first step in reforming a practice in the industry that we believe is detrimental to the best interest of consumers," Rossman says. "We will continue to pursue the other major players in the field." He is an attorney for the National Consumer Law Center.
The class-action lawsuit against Nissan was filed in 1998 in U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tenn. It alleged that Nissan violated federal laws by charging black and Hispanic customers higher interest rates on auto loans than it charged white customers. The higher interest rates included interest charges that the lender allowed retailers to add to loans.
According to the law center, the settlement calls for Nissan to:
Nissan spokesman Kyle Bazemore says the first payment of $200,000 has been sent to America Saves.