Aussie lawyers launch $1 billion class-action lawsuit on Toyota over vehicle emissions

auto, autos, car, cars, toyota, aussie lawyers launch $1 billion class-action lawsuit on toyota over vehicle emissions

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One of Australia’s most popular car brands has been embroiled in a class-action lawsuit over engine features that could be “one of the biggest” in the country’s legal history.

Maddens Lawyers lodged the class action in Victoria’s Supreme Court, claiming up to 500,000 vehicles could be involved and a settlement, if the case is proven, could reach $1 billion.

auto, autos, car, cars, toyota, aussie lawyers launch $1 billion class-action lawsuit on toyota over vehicle emissions

The dispute is centred around “diesel defeat devices”, with Maddens Lawyers alleging Toyota changed vehicles’ emissions control systems.

It was claimed this was done so cars would pass emission tests, while in the real world they emitted “unlawfully high levels of nitrogen oxide”.

“The class action alleges that Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited supplied hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles in Australia that possess engine design features commonly known as diesel defeat devices (DDD),” a Maddens Lawyers spokesperson said.

“The class action alleges that some diesel engines developed by Toyota … include design elements which tamper with the vehicle’s emissions control system in order to enhance the car’s performance.

“DDD are employed to ensure vehicles, when operating under specific emissions testing conditions, perform in a way that will satisfy the requirements of the emissions tests.

auto, autos, car, cars, toyota, aussie lawyers launch $1 billion class-action lawsuit on toyota over vehicle emissions

“It is claimed the emissions control system performs differently in test conditions compared to on-road conditions, resulting in Toyota cars passing regulatory testing but then emitting unlawfully high levels of nitrogen oxide when on the road.

“The same vehicle, when operating under real-world conditions, will then produce dramatically more emissions in order to maximise power and engine performance.”

The spokesperson alleged Toyota engaged in “misleading and deceptive” to obtain regulatory approval.

“Toyota engaged in conduct which was misleading and deceptive. It is also alleged affected vehicles are not of acceptable quality and do not meet the necessary safety standards under the Australian Consumer Law,” they said.

The lead plaintiff, Adam Rowe, is advancing the class action on behalf of up to 500,000 eligible vehicle owners.

Some of Toyota’s most popular cars like the HiLux and LandCruiser are included in the claim.

Maddens Lawyers’ Special Counsel Brendan Pendergast said the claim had the potential to be “one of the biggest” in Australian legal history.

“Toyota has historically been one of Australia’s most trusted brands. It is Australia’s top selling car brand,” he said.

“If the court finds that Toyota has been using ‘defeat devices’ then there are literally hundreds of thousands of people driving a car that simply should have never been allowed on our roads.

“This class action is one of the biggest claims in Australia’s legal history. It could result in each participant receiving tens of thousands of dollars of compensation.”

The claim will include all new or second-hand Toyota diesel vehicles purchased locally on or after February 7, 2016.

Mr Pendergast said the class action was separate and not connected to another claim on alleged defects with the diesel particulate filter in certain Hilux, Fortuner and Prado diesel vehicles.

Maddens Lawyers’ class action is being funded by British litigation funding firm Woodsford.

Toyota models that could be included in the claim:

  • HiLux, LandCruiser Prado, Fortuner, Granvia and HiAce vehicles fitted with a 2.8 litre 1GD-FTV engine
  • HiLux vehicles fitted with a 2.4 litre 2GD-FTV engine
  • LandCruiser vehicles fitted with a 3.3 litre F33A-FTV engine
  • LandCruiser vehicles fitted with a 4.5 litre 1VD-FTV 195kW to 200kW engine
  • RAV4 vehicles fitted with a 2.2 litre 2AD-FHV or 2AD-FTV engine

Toyota said it would “rigorously” defend the class action.

“Toyota Australia stands by its reporting, monitoring and evaluation standards in relation to the emissions for all its vehicles,” the spokesperson said.

“We will defend the class action announced today rigorously.

“As this matter is before the courts, we have no further comment.”


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