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Toyota Australia has been unsuccessful in its bid to appeal the Federal Court’s 2022 ruling relating to its problematic diesel particulate filter (DPF) from selected HiLux, Fortuner and Prado models.
Earlier this week, the Full Court of the Federal Court upheld the primary judge’s ruling from April 2022 that a selection of approximately 260,000 Toyota models sold in Australia fitted with the DPF were not of “acceptable quality”.
This is the latest twist in the saga that has caused headaches for Toyota Australia since 2018.
In some good news for Toyota, the Court found that the reduction in value of the impacted vehicles was 10 per cent, not the 17.5 per cent found by the primary judge in the original judgment.
Last year, lawyers on behalf of the class action plaintiffs suggested Toyota could be up for $2 billion in damages. As it stands now with the latest judgment, that figure is more like $1 billion, although the court has not specified a total damages amount.
As part of the latest judgment, the Court upheld the original finding that Toyota engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct” in marketing and selling the vehicles with the DPF system, and as a result the value of the relevant vehicles had been reduced.
It did, however, acknowledge that Toyota implemented a complimentary fix for the defective devices in May 2020. Toyota extended the warranty on the DPF to 10 years, with no mileage limit.
The Court also said there was no impact to owner’s “utility”, or usage, of the vehicle as a result of the defective DPF.
In a statement, Toyota Australia said it was reviewing the Federal Court’s latest decision and that it had enacted appropriate measures to assist affected customers.
“We remain committed to assisting any customer whose vehicle has experienced the DPF issue and to providing a free-of-charge remedy that has been available since 2020. We believe we have implemented customer-focused and technically grounded measures to resolve customer concerns.
“Toyota will consider the judgment carefully before making any further comment.”
The DPF problem impacted Toyota HiLux, Fortuner and Prado models fitted with a 2.8-litre (1GD-FTV) or 2.4-litre (2GD-FTV) turbo-diesel engine that were sold in Australia between October 2015 and April 2020.
The DPF forms part of the vehicle’s exhaust system and it is designed to capture and trap exhaust soot and other particles that are created during the diesel combustion process. This ensures that the particles are prevented from being pumped into the atmosphere when the vehicle is operating.
The matter has now been sent back to the primary judge to reassess the damages.