Australia’s Federal Court has assessed Toyota Motor Australia (TMC) on the matter of faulty diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in the big-selling HiLux and Prado, as well as the Fortuner.
Justice Lee found 264,170 vehicles were supplied with a “defective diesel particulate filter”, causing issues such as “the emission of foul-smelling white smoke, the display of excessive DPF notifications, and the need to have the vehicle inspected, serviced and repaired”.
As such, the vehicles sold between October 2015 and April 2020 were found to contravene Australian Consumer Law’s guarantee of acceptable quality.
A case summary said that while it was hard to quantify damages, there was an agreed-on 17.5 per cent reduction in each affected vehicle’s value – which averages to a bit over $7000 per car when averaged out across all models sold.
Class action lawyers have told the ABC that if all of the impacted drivers claim their damages, the total money awarded would be more than $2 billion. However it’s expected the final tally will be lower, given what this would require.
Some drivers may potentially be entitled to more compensation due to having to take time off work to fix their car, or a loss of fuel efficiency. HiLux owners in particular use their utes for work.
DPFs are designed to capture and burn off harmful pollutants. However, many of these vehicles were not regularly running at conditions conducive to burning off said pollutants, and became clogged.
Toyota fitted a DPF burn-off button to its 2.8-litre diesel in 2018, and upgraded the engine substantially in the middle of 2020.
“It is not in dispute that between 1 October 2015 and 23 April 2020 (Relevant Period), 264,170 Toyota cars in the Prado, Fortuner and HiLux ranges and fitted with so-called “1GD-FTV” or “2GD-FTV” diesel combustion engines were supplied to consumers in Australia (Relevant Vehicles),” the court finding said.
“Each Relevant Vehicle was supplied with a diesel exhaust after-treatment system (DPF System), which was defective because it was not designed to function effectively during all reasonably expected conditions of normal operation and use of the vehicle.”
“We are in the process of reviewing the court’s judgment. At every step, we believe that we have implemented customer focused and technically grounded remedies to resolve customers’ concerns,” Toyota Australia replied in a statement.
“Toyota will carefully consider the initial trial judgment before making any further comment.”
More to come