Australia sues Audi and Volkswagen over emissions cheating

Posted By on March 8, 2017

08 March 2017 – Australia’s consumer watchdog today launched court action against Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi over an emissions cheating scandal, claiming they engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleged Audi had installed so-called defeat software to produce lower levels of harmful nitrogen oxides during testing than under normal driving conditions.

It said that Audi Australia marketed up to 12,000 cars as complying with stringent European standards when this was not the case.

Parent company Volkswagen designed and supplied the engines and software to Audi AG for installation, the commission added in a statement initiating Federal Court action.

“Consumers expect that there is some relationship between the performance of the car as set out in the sales brochure and their day to day on-road use,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

“We allege that the installation of software which allows the vehicle to meet testing standards but then causes the vehicles to operate differently on the road, and associated representations about the vehicle and its performance, breach the Australian Consumer Law.”

The watchdog is seeking pecuniary penalties and corrective advertising.

Skoda-branded vehicles – owned by Volkswagen in Australia – were also affected but the ACCC chose not to pursue them, noting its smaller sales volumes.

The latest action followed court proceedings launched by the ACCC against Volkswagen and its Australian subsidiary last year, which relates to the same alleged conduct.

In that lawsuit, the commission claimed that more than 57,000 vehicles sold in Australia between 2011 and 2015 did not operate as Volkswagen advertised.

Since then, Volkswagen and Audi have announced voluntary recalls to update the software.