Australian consumer protection agency files lawsuit against Audi over diesel emissions cheating

by Michael Heygood

Australia’s consumer protection watchdog has filed a lawsuit against Audi in connection with diesel emissions cheating on thousands of vehicles sold in Australia. The lawsuit, filed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in Australia’s Federal Court, alleges that Audi misled the agency by equipping its Australian diesel models with a software defeat device and falsely claiming that these vehicles were environmentally friendly.

The ACCC lawsuit against Audi involves about 12,000 diesel-powered vehicles that were sold in Australia between 2011 and 2015. The affected models include the Audi A4 Sedan and TT Coupe.

The ACCC lawsuit accuses Audi and its parent company, Volkswagen, of installing a defeat device on thousands of diesel models sold in that country to lower the NOx emissions of these vehicles. The lawsuit also alleges that Audi and Volkswagen illegally claimed that its vehicles were in compliance with Australian emissions laws, and engaged in deliberately misleading marketing practices by falsely touting the affected models as environmentally friendly. The lawsuit also alleges that the engines and emissions cheating software for the affected vehicles was designed for and supplied to Audi by Volkswagen.

In 2016, Volkswagen agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement involving thousands of lawsuits filed against the company over the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal. Recent reports have stated that Audi was heavily involved in emissions cheating at Volkswagen that occurred during the Dieselgate scandal. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will be required to present a buy-back option to the owners of hundreds of thousands of VW and Audi diesel models affected by the company’s emissions cheating.

Audi recalled the vehicles affected by its diesel emissions cheating in Australia in December 2016 in order to perform software and minor hardware upgrades. However, consumer advocates complained that vehicle owners should be entitled to similar benefits that were received by U.S. drivers as part of the Dieselgate settlement. These complaints prompted the ACCC to take legal action against Audi.

The Australian allegations filed against Audi are not the first claims that have been filed recently against the automaker over allegations of emissions cheating.  In 2016, investigators with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) discovered in 2016 that Audi had installed emissions cheating software on thousands of gasoline models sold in the U.S., including the 2012-2016 Audi A6, A8, Q5, S4, S5, S6, and S7, and the 2012-2017 Audi Q7. CARB investigators discovered that the software “defeat device” installed on these Audi models was designed to lower the performance – and, thus, the CO2 emissions – of the affected Audi models during emissions testing. During normal driving conditions, the vehicles returned to normal operation, emitting significantly higher levels of CO2 than what is allowed under federal law.

Emissions Cheating Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

Consumers in the U.S. who purchased one of the vehicles affected by Audi’s gasoline emissions cheating have filed class action lawsuits against the German automaker over its misleading claims regarding the performance and fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Audi may also face class action lawsuits over the CO2 scandal from authorities in other countries, as well as antitrust litigation from financial regulators.

If you purchased or leased an Audi A6, A8, Q5, Q7, S4, S5, S6, or S7 gasoline model, you may be eligible to take legal action against Audi over CO2 emissions cheating involving these vehicles. The first step in finding out whether you qualify to file a claim is to speak with an experienced attorney about your case.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have represented hundreds of Volkswagen and Audi owners in the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in California against Volkswagen in connection with the Dieselgate scandal. One of our partners, Michael Heygood, was named to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee that has helped to oversee the Volkswagen MDL on behalf of VW and Audi diesel owners nationwide.

For more information about the Audi CO2 scandal and to find out whether you may be eligible to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.

by Michael Heygood

Michael Heygood is a licensed attorney and partner at HO&P who focuses on insurance and corporate litigation, and other civil arenas. Michael has been named multiple times to the Super Lawyers List.