The Supreme Court rules against Mitsubishi on fuel economy
- The customer’s 2016 Triton used more fuel than the 2008 model, even though the efficiency sticker stated otherwise
- Industry associations say there is a difference of up to 59 percent between efficiency labels and real world tests
- The Australian tests have yet to be revised despite the impact of Dieselgate
The Victoria Supreme Court ruling on a case involving Mitsubishi and one of its customers may change the way vehicles are tested before they are sold to the public.
Due to a large discrepancy in fuel consumption between a 2008 Triton and the newer 2016 model, Mitsubishi was brought to justice by one of its customers, Zelko Begovic, first in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and then in the Supreme Court.
Mr Begovic was able to provide evidence that the Japanese brand claimed its 2016 Triton had lower fuel consumption than its 2008 predecessor, according to the vehicle’s fuel consumption label. In the real world, however, the results were reversed – a fact that the court called “misleading and misleading”.
Mr Begovic kept a log of his fuel in 2019 and recorded the receipts as he refilled the vehicle. He won his case against Mitsubishi through VCAT in 2019, but an appeal by the Japanese brand led him to escalate to the state’s Supreme Court.
The case was settled this week when Mitsubishi was forced to repay the $ 39,500 purchase price of the Triton after an independent tester as well as one of its own technicians were unable to match claimed economy ratings.
The results of the case indicate that Mitsubishi complied with the relevant ADR 81/02 test, but the results did not reflect the actual consumption figures of the Triton.
“I accept the claim of the applicants (Mistubishi) that the label representing the Triton 2016 has been tested according to ADR 81/02 and the results of these tests correspond to the information on the label,” stated Judge Tim Ginanne’s decision .
“The label did not give a representation of the Triton’s actual fuel consumption, but I believe that a reasonable consumer reading the label will display information about the vehicle’s fuel economy and that it will display this when the vehicle is retested under ADR 81/02 it would give similar results.
“Ultimately, the label should be read by consumers and should be titled ‘Fuel Consumption’. The reasonable consumer would be entitled to use the fuel consumption figures as an accurate basis for comparing fuel consumption with other vehicles, in order to make adjustments to real driving conditions. which the consumer would likely encounter.
“Although this necessary adjustment process meant that the label did not tell the consumer the actual fuel consumption of the vehicle, it provided important information so that the consumer could make an educated estimate of the actual fuel consumption.”
Despite the Supreme Court ruling in Mr Begovic’s favor, Mitsubishi found that the law was obeyed and the vehicle was not defective, and instead questioned the standard of tests that are done to determine a car’s advertised fuel efficiency, which is what the Japanese manufacturer has welcomed.
“Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited takes its obligation to comply with the law very seriously,” said a Mitsubishi spokesman.
“We were pleased to see that there is no evidence that Mitsubishi Motors did anything other than comply with the law in conducting the government-mandated fuel economy tests. It depends on comparing consumer benchmark data on government-mandated fuel economy publish labels.
“We are taking further advice about our options. In light of this, it is not appropriate for Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited to comment on this matter further.”
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) states that federal regulators have known since 2015 that laboratory tests used to enforce environmental controls provide misleading information.
Believing Australian testers to be too slow to respond, AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley explains that their European equivalents changed the way they conducted testing soon after the Volkswagen Dieselgate saga hit the Was moved to the fore.
“By cheating on laboratory tests by Volkswagen, jurisdictions around the world have improved their control over the performance of automakers and the information that is made available to consumers,” Bradley said.
“The European Union has included real-world testing in its vehicle regulation framework, but in Australia, consumers are still only told how new cars will behave in the laboratory.
“AAA research shows that Australian cars use up to 59 percent more fuel in the real world than advertised, and that their harmful emissions are up to 625 percent above Australian legal limits.
“The gap between laboratory and real-world performance has widened year by year, and consumers get worse information about fuel economy and environmental performance every year.”
The AAA is calling on the federal government to copy the European Union’s real world testing process and introduce an Australian real world testing program that can provide consumers and fleet buyers with more valuable information about a vehicle’s harmful emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy.
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