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ACCC puts more pressure on VW Aus

CARB tuning: The Californian Air Resources Board is not satisfied with Volkswagen's dirty diesel recall plan, and the car-maker must try again to avoid a buyback worst case scenario.

Consumer watchdog releases update on so-called Volkswagen 'dieselgate'

1 Oct 2015

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued an update to the ongoing Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, suggesting that the car-maker could face legal action if the cheating devices are discovered in local cars.

In a release, the consumer watchdog said that it was issuing the update following “significant” public interest in the issue, which has seen the German automotive giant admit to installing devices in vehicles that activate full emissions controls when under test, with far higher emissions during regular driving.

So far up to 11 million vehicles are affected, including Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda models in a number of different global markets, however it is still unclear if Australian-spec VWs have been fitted with the defeat device software.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement that the organisation is prioritising the VW situation and highlighted the action it could take if Volkswagen were found to be in breach of Australian Design Rules.

“This enforcement investigation is a priority for the ACCC. We are very concerned about the potential consumer and competition detriment from this alleged conduct,” he said.

“Firstly, using defeat devices is specifically prohibited under the Australian Design Rules, which are picked up as Australian Consumer Law (ACL) mandatory safety standards.”“As the enforcer of the ACL, the ACCC can take action against any corporation that has breached mandatory standards.

“Secondly, cars are a big purchasing decision and claims that relate to environmental benefits or fuel efficiency can influence consumer choice.

“Businesses must be able to substantiate any claims they make. The ACCC will be seeking marketing materials from VW Group and will not hesitate to take action if consumers were exposed to false, misleading or deceptive representations.”

The ACCC also said in the release that the maximum penalty per breach of ACL is $1.1 million for a corporation.

It added that it is “considering public comments made by Audi Australia” about the impact on their Australian customers, following a statement made earlier this week by Audi Australia general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf. “The Group has advised that no petrol engines are effected, nor are Euro 6 TDI (diesel) engines, as well as Euro 5 and Euro 6 V6 TDI and V8 TDI models this also applies to the A4 B9 in Europe, which is Euro 6-compliant,” she said at the launch of the RS3 hot hatch.

Ms Burgdorf also said that the luxury car-maker had added more staff to its customer call centre as well as extending its service centre operating hours to cope with the expected extra demand over the issue.

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