REFILE-UPDATE 1-Australian consumer regulator files lawsuit against local unit of Japan's Mazda

(Corrects to add dropped word “regulator” in headline)

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Australia’s consumer regulator on Thursday said it has filed a lawsuit against the local unit of Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corp for allegedly misleading consumers.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accused Mazda Australia Pty Ltd of engaging in “unconscionable conduct” and making “false or misleading representations” in its dealings with consumers who bought Mazda vehicles between 2013 and 2017.

The case concerns seven vehicles purchased by individual consumers across six Mazda models, with ACCC alleging that these customers experienced faults with their vehicles within a year or two of purchase.

“We allege that Mazda repeatedly refused to provide a refund or a replacement at no cost to the consumers and pressured them to accept lesser offers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Mazda Australia told Reuters in an emailed statement that it is disappointed the ACCC has started legal proceedings against the company, and it would “vigorously defend” the case. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)