Toyota Owners Could Receive $1.5 Billion Due To Faulty Engines

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Some of its most popular vehicles were affected.

There's been lots of hype surrounding Toyota lately as the GR Corolla was revealed with 300 horsepower and a manual gearbox, but the brand has a great reputation when it comes to off-roading too, regardless of what Jeep says. In foreign markets like Australia and South Africa, the brand's excellence is legendary, but that doesn't mean that Toyota has been totally issue-free. In fact, the diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in a number of diesel-powered Toyotas in Australia were found to be faulty, which resulted in a class-action lawsuit being filed in Australian Federal Court in 2019. That lawsuit has now reached a conclusion, and the end result is that Toyota could have to pay as much as AU$2 billion (approximately $1.5 billion US) in damages.

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The class action related to more than 264,000 Fortuner, Prado, and Hilux vehicles sold between October 2015 and April 2020. For reference, the Hilux is the foreign cousin of the Toyota Tacoma we get stateside. Lawyers contended that the faulty filters caused toxic smoke to spew from exhausts, decreased fuel efficiency, and increased wear and tear on the engines. The court found that, due to the faulty DPFs, customers lost 17.5% of their pickups' average retail price, or more than AU$7,000 (roughly $5,225 US) per vehicle. According to Australian publication ABC News, the total money that would be awarded if every affected owner claimed all damages due would exceed AU$2 billion, or around $1.5 billion, although some drivers will be entitled to more money than others due to having to take time off work to fix their vehicles or because of reduced fuel efficiency.

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Lead applicant in the case, Ken Williams, was "thrilled" with the judgment: "Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australian consumers who bought these vehicles are [now] entitled to be awarded damages for the losses they suffered as a result." On the other side of the table, a Toyota spokesperson said that the automaker was reviewing the judgment: "At every step, we believe that we have implemented customer-focused and technically grounded remedies to resolve customers' concerns [...] Toyota will carefully consider the initial trial judgment before making any further comment."

It now remains to be seen if Toyota will appeal the decision, as the automaker launched a customer service campaign in October 2019 encouraging affected customers to contact dealers to rectify the issue, although a full recall was never published.

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Source Credits: ABC

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