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Australia fines Volkswagen USD 86 mln over 'dieselgate'

20 December 2019, MVT 16:12
(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 9, 2015, an activist of environmental organisation Greenpeace holds a giant letter to display "CO2" around the logo of German car maker Volkswagen (VW) at the entrance of the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. - Car behemoth Volkswagen will face a German court on September 30, 2019 as hundreds of thousands of owners of manipulated diesel cars demand compensation four years after the country's largest post-war industrial scandal erupted. PHOTO: JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP
20 December 2019, MVT 16:12

An Australian court handed Volkswagen a record USD 86 million fine Friday for misleading customers about the emissions from its diesel vehicles, with the company saying it may appeal.

The Federal Court found that an initial USD 51.7 million penalty the company agreed with Australia's consumer watchdog was "manifestly inadequate" and recommended the biggest fine ever in the country for breaching consumer rules.

The German auto giant is accused of fitting cars with software designed to cheat emissions tests.

The firm said it "firmly believes" the lower fine earlier agreed with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission "was a fair amount".

Volkswagen said it was "carefully reviewing the court's reasons for deviating from that amount" and will "determine in coming weeks whether it will appeal".

The company has paid tens of billions of US dollars in fines around the world since the scandal broke in 2015.

Worldwide 11 million vehicles were believed to be fitted with the so-called "defeat device" software, including 57,000 exported to Australia between 2011 and 2015.

Volkswagen said "most" of the 57,000 vehicles "have subsequently had an update to the engine-control software under the ongoing voluntary recall".

Sydney, Australia | AFP

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