MITSUBISHI Motors Australia (MMAL) has lost a claim by the owner of a Triton ute that the fuel label on his vehicle was misleading and deceptive, in a case that has implications across the industry, reports motor industry newsletter GoAutoNews.
The crux of the case was that the buyer wanted better fuel economy than his 2008 Triton and that the fuel-economy label on the windscreen of a 2017 model led him to believe he would achieve a satisfactory economy if he purchased a brand-new example.
Tests by the automotive engineering consultancy ABMARC showed the consumption was 27 per cent worse than the buyer was getting with his 2008 Triton and worse than the label on the 2017 Triton windscreen.
The owner sought redress before the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
VCAT found that:
- Independent expert test-result evidence on the actual fuel consumption of the buyer’s 2017 Triton proved that the 2017 Triton’s actual fuel consumption was significantly higher than the fuel consumption on the label provided by Mitsubishi.
- Based on the methodologies allowed for fuel-consumption tests under the ADR, the expected variation in fuel consumption test results is small – less than one or two per cent – and could not account for the significant variation in this vehicle (some 26.7% combined).
- On the basis of the independent expert evidence, the fuel-consumption label provided by Mitsubishi was misleading or deceptive in respect of this particular vehicle.
- In purchasing the 2017 Triton, the owner had relied on the misleading or deceptive representation contained in the fuel-consumption label as to the 2017 Triton’s fuel-consumption characteristics; consequently suffering a loss by reason of increased fuel costs which he did not bargain for when purchasing the 2017 Triton.
- The findings of VCAT awarded the Triton owner a full refund over the misleading fuel consumption claims.
- The findings by VCAT do not amount to a finding that all 2017 Triton fuel-consumption labels are misleading or deceptive – that finding was limited to the owner’s particular 2017 Triton based on the evidence presented in relation to that vehicle’s actual fuel consumption
- The dealer was entitled to claim an indemnity from Mitsubishi in relation to the owner’s claim and VCAT’s judgment. (Reported in GoAutoNews)