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Toyota hit with massive class action: Thousands of HiLux, Prado and Fortuner customers to sue over DPF defect

Toyota is being taken to court over an alleged DPF defect.

A lawsuit that involves thousands of Toyota owners has been filed in the Federal Court, with lawyers claiming a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) defect has lefts many as 250,000 drivers burning excess fuel, emitting thick black smoke and even damaging their engines. 

The lawsuit - lodged by Bannister Law and Gilbert and Tobin lawyers - could impact anyone who bought a diesel-powered Toyota HiLux, Fortuner or Prado in Australia between October 2015 and July 2019.

According to a media statement from Bannister Law, the lawsuit will allege that "certain models of Toyota motor vehicles in the Hilux, Prado and Fortuner ranges fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) are defective.

"These vehicles fail to comply with the statutory guarantee as to acceptable quality provided under the Australian Consumer Law. And Toyota Australia has engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive and, in the circumstances, unconscionable."

While the law firm is yet to confirm official numbers, CarsGuide understands the the number of customers involved already numbers in the thousands.

Customers have long complained of Toyota's DPF failing, causing engine damage or failure, excess black smoke and increased fuel use. As CarsGuide reported in June, the brand introduced a manual burn-off switch as part of a running change to all new HiLuxes sold, and offered the solution as a retrofit to exsiting owners, telling us "we believe the issue is fixed".

Read More About Toyota HiLux

But the lawyers who have filed the lawsuit disagree.

'"We believe consumers are entitled to compensation for the defect we allege is in the vehicles," Charles Bannister from Bannister Law told the ABC.

"The issue is that (over) the past few years, the operation of these vehicles has cost many people time off work in returning the vehicle to the dealership, and the excess fuel consumption has hit their hip pocket.

"People return to have the problem fixed. It's not fixed, its fuel consumption is poor and they return again."

According to the law firm, Toyota was aware of the issue as early as February 2016, with lawyers labelling a failure to act immediately as "unconscionable".

"It is said that Toyota Australia has known of issues affecting the DPF System in the Affected Vehicles since February 2016 and, in the circumstances, Toyota Australia’s misleading conduct was also unconscionable," the statement reads.

"The proceedings claim that the Applicant and each Group Member suffered loss and damage by reason of the fact that the Affected Vehicles are not of an acceptable quality, and also because of Toyota Australia’s misleading and unconscionable conduct

"This loss and damage includes, but is not limited to, a reduction in value of the Affected Vehicles, costs of excessive fuel consumption, costs connected with the inspection, servicing and repair of the Affected Vehicles, as well as income foregone on days whilst undertaking these steps."

Toyota says it is unable to comment in detail, given the matter is now before the court, but told CarsGuide "we encourage any owners with questions or concerns about their DPF to contact their closest/preferred Toyota dealership, or our Guest Experience Centre."

Have you been swept up in Toyota's DPF issues? Tell us in the comments below.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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