May 17, 2022

Toyota Class Action Bill Could Hit $2 Billion | Western magazine

Toyota could be forced to pay thousands of Australian customers who were sold cars with faulty engine filters to the tune of $2 billion, after the auto giant lost a class action lawsuit.

In a Federal Court ruling on Thursday, Judge Michael Lee found that 264,170 drivers who purchased some of the brand’s top-selling cars were eligible for payment.

The class action alleged that Hilux, Fortuner and Prado vehicles sold between October 2015 and April 2020 had faulty diesel particulate filter systems, leaving owners out of pocket.

The defect caused foul-smelling white smoke to pour onto vehicles and reduced fuel efficiency.

It also meant that owners had to pay for an excessive number of inspections, maintenance and repairs and, in some cases, led to a loss of income when drivers could not use their cars or had to take time off to remedy the problem. fault.

Judge Lee found that each vehicle was worth 17.5% less than the average customer paid and customers were entitled to reimbursement for that difference.

For the class action’s lead plaintiff, Ken Williams, it’s $7,474.59.

Mr Williams also persuaded the judge to award him $4,725 in damages for lost income and $992 in excess tax.

In total, he is entitled to more than $13,000.

In a statement, Mr Williams said he hoped the decision would bring comfort to people who had to deal with the disappointment, inconvenience and added cost of owning the vehicles.

“I am delighted with today’s judgment, particularly that the court found that the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australian consumers who purchased these vehicles are entitled to damages for the losses they suffered. accordingly,” he said.

If all eligible customers claim their payments, Toyota’s bill could top $2 billion.

However, during the trial, Toyota had argued that it had done its best to rectify the problem.

“(Toyota) claims to have advised the class members that they could have the defect repaired at no cost to them and that the class members who did not accept this offer behaved unreasonably so that they would not should not be compensated,” Judge Lee noted in the judgment.

Since the class action began, Toyota says it has also offered refunds and replacement vehicles to hundreds of consumers.

But Judge Lee found the company had been misleading by continuing to market the vehicles as of acceptable quality after learning of the defect.

“TMCA also admits that it engaged in conduct of omissions, including failing to disclose the primary defect and the consequences of the defect to potential purchasers.”

In a statement, a Toyota spokeswoman said the company is reviewing the court ruling.

“At every stage, we believe we have implemented customer-focused, technically sound solutions to solve customer problems,” she said.

“Toyota will carefully review the initial judgment before making any further comments.”

Australian Associated Press