Drivers of Toyota Hilux, Fortuner and Prado vehicles manufactured from 1 October 2015 will have their day in court in a class action alleging 35,000 cars in New Zealand are faulty. Shine Lawyers filed the lawsuit in the Palmerston North High Court on 27 September 2023 on behalf of vehicle owners.
The alleged fault in the vehicles relates to a defective diesel particulate filter (DPF), which was fitted to the Hilux, Fortuner and Prado Toyota models from 2015.
The purpose of these DPFs is to comply with emissions standards by filtering and collecting soot in a car’s exhaust system, and then effectively burning the matter by increasing the system’s temperature. The DPF is required for these cars to meet Euro 5 emission standards.
“It’s been suggested that a faulty DPF system adversely affects the performance and efficiency of vehicles, and also causes vehicles to spill foul-smelling white smoke. The proceedings allege that this would likely reduce the value of the vehicles,” said Shine Lawyers’ Senior Associate Hamish Davies.
This class action is seeking financial compensation for affected owners. The primary impact on owners would be a reduction in the value of their affected vehicle. Further, owners could have incurred costs from purchasing a defective vehicle such as repair costs, excess GST and finance costs they paid when purchasing their vehicle, inspection fees, service costs, and loss of income connected to owning a defective vehicle. Interest on the losses will also apply.
“There are an estimated 35,000 affected vehicles which were imported into New Zealand.” said Davies.
A similar class action was launched in Australia in 2019, affecting more than 250,000 vehicle owners. The Australian Federal Court found in favour of the applicants and that the value of the vehicles was reduced by 10%.
“Even if your vehicle was repaired or sold on, you could still be entitled to compensation. Toyota New Zealand is a trusted brand and drivers have historically been willing to spend thousands on these vehicles to ensure they are safe and compliant. To risk breaching consumer trust and safety is a cause worth fighting for,” said Davies.
Shine Lawyers is representing New Zealanders who acquired a Toyota Hilux, Fortuner and Prado which were fitted with a 1GD-FTV engine or 2GD-FTV engine manufactured from 1 October 2015.
The class action is funded by Court House Capital, an Australian based litigation funder experienced in funding class actions in Australia and New Zealand.
Michelle Silvers, CEO of Court House Capital, the litigation funder said, “Toyota owners deserve to be compensated for these defective vehicles and we are pleased to support them in accessing justice.”
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