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Toyota to Pay More Than $2 Billion to Customers in Class Action Over Faulty DPFs

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Toyota could end up paying more than $2 billion to customers as part of a class action that challenged the Japanese automaker over faulty diesel particulate filters in some of its top-selling cars in Australia.

Related: Toyota Ranked as World’s Third-Most Obstructive Company Against Climate Policies

According to a Federal Court judgement, it was found that Toyota customers purchased vehicles with defects and as a result, the value of their cars was reduced by 17.5% on the average retail price, or more than $7,000 per car. The class action covers more than 264,000 Hilux, Fortuner and Prado vehicles sold on the new car market between October 2015 and April 2020.

 

 

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Class action lawyers have said that if all of the impacted drivers claim their damages, the total money awarded would be more than $2 billion. Some drivers may be entitled to more compensation due to having to take time off work to fix their car, or a loss of fuel efficiency. The lead applicant in the case, Ken Williams, said he was “thrilled” with the judgement. He said:

“Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australian consumers who bought these vehicles are [now] entitled to be awarded damages for the losses they suffered as a result. I hope today’s judgement provides a degree of comfort to people who, like me, have had to deal with the disappointment, inconvenience and extra cost of owning these vehicles.”

Toyota to ‘carefully consider’ judgement

Diesel particulate filters (DPFs) are designed to capture and burn off harmful pollutants before they get released into the air. The faulty DPFs instead caused cars to spew out foul-smelling white smoke and had to be serviced or repaired. A Toyota spokesperson said the company was reviewing the court’s judgement. According to a company statement:

“At every step, we believe that we have implemented customer focused and technically grounded remedies to resolve customers’ concerns. Toyota will carefully consider the initial trial judgement before making any further comment.”

Class action after complaints

The class action, filed in the Federal Court in 2019, alleged Toyota in Australia had been installing faulty DPFs in its Hilux, Fortuner and Prado diesel cars sold nationwide over several years. Lawyers alleged the faulty filters caused foul smoke to spew from exhausts, decreased fuel efficiency, and increased wear & tear on engines.

Related: Toyota Subsidiary Hino Admits Yearslong Use of Fraudulent Emissions Data

The class action also claimed using the vehicles was costing people money, because of excess fuel consumption and needing to take time off work to get the DPF fixed. Lawyers also alleged drivers suffered a “reduction in value” of their vehicles. Simon Burnett from Balance Legal Capital — the funder of the class action — said the case was an excellent example of how litigation funders played a critical role in “facilitating justice for ordinary people”. 

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In 2019, mechanics reported that they had been inundated with complaints about toxic exhaust and fuel efficiency problems from Hilux, Fortuner, and Prado drivers. “They end up with raw diesel coming out the tailpipe with steam and a mixture of sulfuric acid … that’s of course very polluting, very hard on the eyes,” said one of the mechanic who experienced a faulty Toyota.

Source: ABC

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