Thursday 1st September 2016 - 7:01 pm

Consumer watchdog taking VW to court

by Alan Thornhill

A leading motoring body has welcomed the consumer watchdog’s move to take Volkswagen to court  over allegations of misleading conduct, in dealing with  emissions from its diesel engines.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would challenge the German car maker  in the Federal Court.

 
The Australian Automobile Association said this is an important step in delivering clarity to affected owners.

 
Its Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “The Volkswagen Group has been shown to have misled millions of consumers globally and is being pursued for alleged breach of laws in other countries.

 

 

“It’s fitting the legality of the company’s actions be tested against Australian law.”

 

US authorities found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection diesel engines to activate certain emission controls only during laboratory tests.

 

They ordered VW to pay each of its customers an average of $5,000 each in compensation.

 

The company has said it won’t be making similar offers in Australia.

 

 

“But irrespective of whether or not the Federal Court finds the company guilty of a breach of law, Volkswagen Group is clearly guilty of breaching the trust of the Australian owners of tens of thousands of vehicles,” Mr Bradley said.

 

He said, too, that Australian authorities need to do more to protect motorists and the environment.

 

 

“More broadly, the actions of Volkswagen Group have called into question Australia’s emissions compliance regime and highlighted the fact that no independent vehicle compliance testing is performed in Australia to protect consumers, or the environment,” he said.

 

Mr Bradley said the AAA itself would be undertaking critical work in this area.

 

“Amid growing concerns that laboratory emissions testing is susceptible to manipulation and does not reflect the true emissions or fuel usage profiles of vehicles on Australian roads, the AAA is investing $500,000 to conduct an on-road emissions pilot test program of 30 vehicles on the Australian market,” he said.

 

Initial test results are due next month.


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