Tuesday

26th May 2020

Investigation

Australian consumer watchdog sues Volkswagen

  • 'Consumers rightly expect that their vehicle’s emissions would operate as advertised during their day-to-day use', the Australian consumer authority said (Photo: Tunde Pecsvari)

Australia's consumer protection body is suing Volkswagen Group and its Australian daughter company for misleading consumers over emissions testing.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement on Thursday (1 September) that VW had broken Australian laws “by concealing software in their vehicles to cheat emissions testing and misleading consumers about the vehicle’s compliance with standards and emission levels during on-road conditions”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The German carmaker, which is also being sued in three American states, admitted almost a year ago that it had fitted software into 11 million diesel cars that modified emissions during test conditions.

The Australian commission said VW's Australian subsidiary “marketed the vehicles in Australia as being environmentally friendly, clean burning, low emission and compliant with stringent European standards when this was not the case under normal driving conditions”.

“Consumers rightly expect that their vehicle’s emissions would operate as advertised during their day-to-day use and we allege that this was not the case with more than 57,000 vehicles sold in Australia by Volkswagen over a five-year period,” the commission's chairman Rod Sims said.

Volkswagen Australia said the legal action did not provide “any practical benefit to consumers, because software solutions for cars affected by the voluntary recall are expected soon”.

The Australian consumer commission said it wanted VW to receive a “significant penalty” to deter other car companies from cheating.

The law enforcement chiefs from New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, who announced their lawsuit last July, also said they wanted VW to face “substantial penalties”.

The carmaker has already made a €13.2bn settlement with American consumers and the federal government, and a €1bn settlement with its US dealers.

In South Korea, the government banned the sale of nearly all VW models and gave a €14m fine.

Compared to actions worldwide, it has been relatively quiet in Europe on the legal front. Almost a year later, no authority has sued VW for the use of the illegal cheating software.

Last month, it did receive a €5m fine from the Italian Competition Authority for misleading advertisements.

Investigation

Porsche told EU not to publish diesel emission result

The EU Commission has kept results of an emissions test of a Porsche diesel vehicle secret for months, at the request of the German car company - which was fined €535m for its role in the Dieselgate scandal.

EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling

The Court of Justice of the EU annulled legislation which relaxed toxic emission limits for cars. EU commissioner Bienkowska said the commission will appeal.

Visual Data

Top 100 European places where Dieselgate 'kills' most

In Europe, more than a third of those killed each year by toxic particulate matter - associated with unlawful diesel emissions exceeding the EU limits - live in about 100 conurbations, mainly in Italy, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  3. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic co-operation on COVID-19
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic research collaboration on pandemics

Latest News

  1. Recovery plans unveiled This WEEK
  2. EU and UK stumbling into Irish border crisis
  3. Malta patrol boat 'intimidates' capsized migrants
  4. How coronavirus might hit EU defence spending
  5. Herman Van Rompuy on power and influence in the EU
  6. EU links access to recovery fund to economic advice
  7. EU wants to halve use of pesticides by 2030
  8. Top editors alarmed by media cuts in EU and beyond

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us