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AAA welcomes ACCC action against Audi

8.3.2017

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) today welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) proceedings in the Federal Court against Audi Aktiengesellschaft (Audi AG), its Australian subsidiary Audi Australia Pty Ltd (Audi Australia), and their owner, German company Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (Volkswagen AG).

The ACCC action relates to allegations regarding the installation of emissions testing ‘defeat’ software in certain Audi branded vehicles as part of the broader allegations involving Volkswagen Group vehicles.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “Volkswagen Group, and a number of subsidiaries, have been the subject of legal proceedings around the world for allegedly misleading millions of consumers. We are pleased that on behalf of Australian consumers the ACCC is now taking legal action in relation to the 12,000 affected Audi vehicles sold in Australia.

“The AAA agrees with ACCC Chair Rod Sims when he says that consumers are entitled to assume a relationship between the performance of the car as set out in the sales brochure, and their day to day on-road use.

“This is why the AAA is investing $500,000 in a pilot program to test the fuel consumption and emissions of 30 vehicles in on‑road Australian conditions, and to compare the results with the mandatory laboratory limits, and on Government-mandated Fuel Consumption Labels,” Mr Bradley said.

Results from the first 10 vehicles tested under the AAA pilot showed emissions of noxious gasses up to four times the regulatory limits, while greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption was up to 35 per cent higher than figures shown on the relevant Government-mandated Fuel Consumption Label, and 20 per cent higher on average.

The actions of Volkswagen Group have called into question Australia’s emissions compliance regime and highlighted the fact that no independent vehicle compliance testing is performed in Australia to protect consumers, or the environment.

“It’s fitting the legality of the actions of these companies be tested against Australian law. Whether or not the Federal Court finds them guilty of a breach of law, Volkswagen Group has breached the trust of the Australian owners of tens of thousands of vehicles, and has added insult to injury by making payments to affected US customers, whilst making no goodwill payment to similarly impacted Australians,” Mr Bradley said.

View the ACCC statement on proceedings here.

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