The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) says the ACCC’s decision to institute proceedings in the Federal Court against Volkswagen Group Australia is an important step in the process of delivering affected vehicle owners the clarity they deserve.
AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “The Volkswagen Group has been shown to have misled millions of consumers globally and is being pursued for alleged breach of laws in other countries.
“It’s fitting the legality of the company’s actions be tested against Australian law. But irrespective of whether or not the Federal Court finds the company guilty of a breach of law, Volkswagen Group is clearly guilty of breaching the trust of the Australian owners of tens of thousands of vehicles.
“More broadly, 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.”
Amid growing concerns that laboratory emissions testing is susceptible to manipulation and does not reflect the true emissions or fuel usage profiles of vehicles on Australian roads, the AAA is investing $500,000 to conduct an on-road emissions pilot test program of 30 vehicles on the Australian market, with initial test results due next month.
“Volkswagen’s actions underline how the Australian Government has neglected its responsibility to properly ensure compliance with vehicle design standards. Current consideration of new emissions laws only heightens the need for Government to begin properly measuring what it seeks to manage,” Mr Bradley said.
The AAA looks forward to clarification regarding the alleged actions of other Volkswagen Group brands not currently subject to the ACCC’s proceedings.