Discrimination or just business? That's the question to be decided in a federal courtroom in Nashville, Tenn. Primus Automotive Financial Services Inc., a unit of Ford Motor Credit Co., is the defendant.
Plaintiffs' lawyers in the class-action lawsuit allege that Primus promotes discrimination when it allows dealers to mark up interest rates on vehicle loans. Minority buyers tend to pay higher finance charges, the plaintiffs claim.
The Primus case is the first of several such class actions to go to trial. Other finance companies and banks have settled out of court. Those settlements usually included a cap on interest rate markups.
Primus spokeswoman Meredith Libbey says: "We decided to go to trial because the charges are without merit, and we see a trial as a way to defend our good name."
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