German company Audi AG, its local subsidiary Audi Australia, and their German parent company Volkswagen (VWAG) are being take to court for misleading or deceptive conduct by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC announced the Federal Court action today. It’s the consumer watchdog’s second case over the global coverup, following on from legal action against VWAG and its Australian subsidiary, Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) last year, for the same alleged conduct involving VW cars. The ACCC has decided against taking further action over Skoda vehicles, due to lower sales volume and existing class actions for damages for affected consumers.
The global emissions scandal involved 11 million cars with “defeat” software to make false claims that the vehicles complied with emissions standards.
Around 90,000 diesel VWs, Skodas and Audis sold in Australia were fitted with the software, which masked the true emissions levels. That led to 54,745 VW cars and 17,256 vans, plus 5148 Skoda models, and 14,028 Audis, built between 2009 to 2015, being recalled.
VGA withdrew 10 VW vehicles with 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel engines from sale.
The ACCC action against Audi alleges that between 2011 and 2015 the company engaged in misleading conduct with its “defeat” software, which caused the vehicles to produce lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions when subject to test conditions in a laboratory than during normal on-road driving conditions.
VWAG designed and supplied the engines and defeat software to Audi AG. The legal action involves 14 models, including the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, Q3, Q5 and TT Coupe.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said consumers should expect the performance of a car set out in the sales brochure aligns with day to day on-road use.
“We allege that the installation of software which allows the vehicle to meet testing standards but then causes the vehicles to operate differently on the road, and associated representations about the vehicle and its performance, breach the Australian Consumer Law,” he said.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising, orders relating to the future use of findings of fact and costs
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