A study filed last month as part of a lawsuit against Nissan says thousands of Florida Hispanics were charged higher interest rates for car loans than whites with the same credit history, Associated Press (AP) reported.

Nissan officials deny the allegations, AP noted.

AP said lawyers submitted the study about Nissan's lending practices in Florida as part of a class-action lawsuit pending in federal court in Tennessee which accuses Nissan's lending company, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, of charging blacks higher interest rates than whites with the same credit rating.

The lawsuit does not cover Hispanics, but a separate case is now being drawn up in California, AP added.

According to the Associated Press report, lawyers say about 125,000 plaintiffs are included in the Tennessee class-action lawsuit, which seeks to have the alleged practice declared illegal so customers could individually seek monetary damages.

AP said the lawsuit is set for trial from February 3 and added that researchers from Yale and Vanderbilt universities conducted studies of Nissan's black customers nationwide -- and its Hispanic customers in Florida -- after being commissioned by the plaintiffs' attorneys.

AP said the researchers used over a million customer files and race-coded driver's licence records available from several states to argue a pattern of discrimination.

Nissan responded that the Florida study is oversimplified and flawed, Associated Press said.

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