Toyota could be forced to pay customers more than $2 billion after 260,000 Australians were found to be affected by defective vehicles.
Customers who bought a Prado, HiLux, or Fortuner model from the Japanese manufacturer in 2015 to 2020 could be eligible for compensation.
Motorists complained their brand-new vehicles were emitting foul-smelling white smoke and exhaust caused by faulty diesel particulate filters.
They also complained the vehicle required repeated inspections, servicing, and repairs as well as costing drivers more due to increased fuel consumption.
Toyota could be forced to pay customers more than $2billion after 260,000 Aussies were found to be affected by defective vehicles (pictured, a Toyota HiLux in 2016)
Customers who bought a Prado, HiLux or Fortuner model in 2015 to 2020 could be eligible for compensation (pictured, a Toyota dealership in Burnie, Tasmana in 2018)
Toyota owners stand to receive the approximate reduction in value of each vehicle at the time it was sold, which is 17.5 per cent of the average retail price, plus an additional 10 per cent for excess GST.
Owners are eligible if they bought a diesel Toyota Prado, HiLux, or Fortuner between October 1, 2015, and April 23, 2020, and did not sell it during that time.
Australian law firm Gilbert + Tobin brought a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer in 2019 on behalf of the people who owned the defective models.
The Federal Court of Australia ruled against Toyota in April, finding the manufacturer engaged in ‘misleading’ conduct in marketing the cars.
The law firm will start contacting eligible owners by phone, text message, and post on Monday, to invite them to register their interest for thousands in compensation.
As cost-of-living prices skyrocket, what could become the country’s largest ever class action payout would be life-changing for households feeling the pinch (pictured, a Toyota Prado)
The lead applicant of the class action, Ken Williams, has already been awarded $18,000 in compensation for the faulty Prado he bought in 2016.
Less than a year later, the Queensland father realized he had been sold a ‘dud’.
Foul-smelling white smoke began pouring out from the vehicle while he was stopped at a set of traffic lights, scaring him and his young children.
Mr Williams told News Corp he went back to the dealership 12 times since the ‘horrendous’ moment but was yet to see any improvement.
‘Having the judgment in my favor was good for me but also for hundreds of thousands of other people to see they can come forward and be compensated for all the pain and suffering,’ he said of the Federal Court judgment.
The total amount of damages to be paid by Toyota is yet to be decided and will depend on the number of drivers who take part in the class action (pictured, a Toyota Prado Kakadu in 2016)
Gilbert + Tobin partner Matt Mackenzie described the class action as ‘significant’ due to the Federal Court moving to award the damages on an aggregate basis.
The last order of this kind was made in 1998, when proceedings were commenced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The total amount of damages to be paid by Toyota is yet to be decided and will depend on how many drivers take part in the class action.
Estimates predict the manufacturer will be forced to pay more than $2 billion.
Owners who register for compensation and are deemed eligible will be reimbursed through a court-supervised distribution scheme.
From Monday, Toyota drivers across the country will be contacted to register their interest in receiving thousands of dollars of compensation (pictured, a Toyota Hilux)
Toyota lodged an appeal in the Federal Court of Australia, questioning the ‘factual and legal basis for the award of damages’.
The manufacturer apologized to affected customers and said it was committed to assisting drivers with faulty diesel particulate filters.
‘At the same time, we understand some customers have experienced inconvenience and discomfort from this issue. For this we apologise,’ it said.
‘We have worked continuously since becoming aware of DPF concerns on an effective resolution for affected customers.
‘At every step, we have implemented customer focused and technically grounded remedies to resolve customers’ concerns.’