Oh what a law suit: ‘Dud’ Toyota claim triggers class action


He claims his Toyota is one of 320,000 "dud'' vehicles made by the car giant and, now, Ken Williams says he has just had a big win in his ongoing legal war with the manufacturer.

The Federal Court has adopted a report by an expert "referee" that says the diesel filter system in some HiLux, Prado and Fortuner models does not function effectively during normal operation.

"This independent report shows what I have been saying all along, that my car is not fit for purpose," Mr Williams, who has never before spoken publicly about the class action, said.

"I believe Toyota sold me and hundreds of thousands of other Aussie families a complete dud."

Ken Williams with his Toyota Prado. Picture: Peter Wallis
Ken Williams with his Toyota Prado. Picture: Peter Wallis

Mr Williams' lawyers allege the failure of the filter in his Prado has had consequences including increased fuel consumption and reduced power. Toyota's defence, filed with the court, acknowledged he repeatedly raised concerns about the system with his local dealer and there were four attempts to fix the issues.

However, Toyota also said it introduced "countermeasures" to new vehicles starting in 2016 and provided "field fixes" without charge for existing vehicles. Plus warranties were extended to 10 years.

The defence said Toyota is continuing to investigate the filter issues while denying its vehicles "suffer from the alleged … defects and/or … the alleged consequences".

The issues, Toyota said, are limited to a "noticeably different exhaust smell" and a "small amount of white smoke" while the filter is burning off diesel particulates. As well, in some cases, there can be a reduction in engine power and therefore speed as a "precautionary measure".

In his report, former General Motors' emissions chief David Garrett found the diesel filter system "was not designed to function effectively during all reasonably expected conditions of normal operation and use (in Australia)".

The case is ongoing.

About 100,000 of the allegedly defective cars are in NSW; a similar number are in Queensland. There are nearly 50,000 in Victoria and more than 20,000 in South Australia.

All owners are included in the action by default.


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Originally published as Oh what a law suit: 'Dud' Toyota claim triggers class action