Over Half a Million Australian Consumers Affected by Toyota’s Recall

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan (Quinn Emanuel) has filed a class action against Toyota, on behalf of affected consumers, who acquired cars manufactured by Toyota, including Lexus brand models, fitted with defective Takata airbags. Similar actions against Honda, Mazda, BMW, Subaru, Audi and Volkswagen are expected to be filed in the coming weeks.

The class action, funded by US litigation funder Regency Funding, was filed in the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 10 November 2017, and alleges that Toyota is in breach of its obligations to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Quinn Emanuel Partner Damian Scattini said that hundreds of Toyota owners have already registered to participate in the action since it was first announced in July. Globally, the Takata airbag recall is the largest product safety recall in history and the number of potentially affected Australian consumers could make it the largest consumer class action in Australia.

Since 2009, more than 2.3 million vehicles in Australia have become subject to the recall. The defective airbags were largely installed in affected vehicles between 2002 through 2015. “These airbags have been proven to be lethal and have killed at least 18 people and injured more than 180 around the world. Under the ACL, goods need to be safe. This class action will allow Australians whose vehicles are fitted with the potentially deadly Takata airbag to seek either a safe replacement airbag or refund,” Mr Scattini said.

“The truth is that car manufacturers have known about this lethal fault for years and have not done anything proactive to try and right it. And there are simply not enough safe airbags in the country to replace dangerous airbags with, so consumers are being misled or sent away by manufacturers with these lethal devices still in place. Additionally, the car manufacturers have done a poor job reaching consumers and properly informing them about the nature of the defect and its potentially deadly consequences. As a result, recall replacement rates are dismal. And, those consumers who have contacted dealers about repairs are often given the run around or turned away because of a lack of replacement airbags. We aim to change that through this class action case.”

Lead plaintiff, Louise Haselhurst is a single mother of two who bought a brand new Toyota Corolla in 2011. After being contacted by Toyota in March this year, she was told that a replacement airbag would not be available until the “fourth quarter of 2017”. “I am the sole carer of my children and elderly mother. I use my car everyday to drive them to and from school and appointments and also to commute to work, which is a two hour round trip. Toyota has put my family’s life at risk, along with millions of other Australians who are driving cars fitted with a ticking time bomb. Something needs to be done urgently by car manufacturers before more lives are needlessly lost.”

This action is complementary to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s current investigation into car manufacturers’ obligations under the ACL.

Consumers who purchased a Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Subaru, Audi and Volkswagen other car fitted with a Takata airbag between 2001 and 2017 may be entitled to participate in the class action. Please register your interest at: www.AirbagRecall.com.au