Turkish businessman Engin Yakut finally won his seven-year legal fight against the British automobile giant Land Rover. An Istanbul-based consumer court found that Yakut's Range Rover Vogue was defective due to a production error and ruled on Feb. 28 that the British manufacturer will pay the cost of the car, which was TL 397,800 in 2013, with accumulated deposit interests.
In March 2013, Yakut bought a Range Rover Vogue model for 170,000 euros ($191,840) from an auto gallery in Istanbul. While driving the car at a speed of 70-80 kilometers per hour and with only 450 kilometers on the odometer, he noticed a burning smell and saw sparks coming from the engine, which suddenly began leaking oil.
Yakut narrowly avoided an accident, and one week after his car was towed to Borusan Oto, a report was issued indicating that the engine was damaged and the transmission had broken off because it was not screwed on firmly. The report said that it was a failure stemming from a production defect, and assured Yakut that he had no responsibility for the breakdown since the car was bought new.
Yakut sent an international notice to Jaguar Land Rover three times, demanding the car be replaced with a new one. As the company failed to respond, he appealed to Istanbul First Consumer Court for the recall and withdrawal of Range Rover Vogue vehicles from the market. The court accepted the lawsuit, which had repercussions abroad and on social media platforms as well. Hearing the news from social media, a man contacted Yakut and his lawyer, Candaş Gürol, to file the same lawsuit in court, saying that his two Range Rovers experienced similar failures. The court then dispatched a panel of experts to examine the three cars in Borusan Oto. The expert opinion also concluded that the failures in the cars did not stem from driver error but from production mistakes, and that the production company needs to replace the cars with new ones.
Yakut also appealed to the European Parliament and the European Commission requesting the withdrawal of all Range Rover Vogue models from the European market. Gürol offered the reports to consumer courts demanding the cessation of the import of the cars, arguing that the presence of the cars in traffic constitutes a risk for drivers in Turkey. Although Land Rover claimed that the Turkish court had no jurisdiction over the company, the court continued the trial in absentia.
According to the 36th Article of the International Private and Procedure Law, the verdicts of the Turkish courts on suits for damages must be acknowledged by the British courts and the verdict could lead to exemplary damages in the Anglo-American legal system.
Gürol also claimed that if they win the lawsuit for recalling the Range Rover Vogues in European court, the vehicles in all the countries that are signatory to the 1899 the Hague Convention are likely to be withdrawn from the market.
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