According to a news release, the FTC claims Volkswagen “deceived customers with the advertising campaign it used to promote its supposedly ‘clean diesel’ VWs and Audis, which Volkswagen fitted with illegal emission defeat devices designed to mask high emissions during government tests.”
“For years Volkswagen’s ads touted the company’s ‘Clean Diesel’ cars even though it now appears Volkswagen rigged the cars with devices designed to defeat emissions tests,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, in a press release. “Our lawsuit seeks compensation for the consumers who bought affected cars based on Volkswagen’s deceptive and unfair practices.”
In its complaint, the FTC said Volkswagen deceived customers for a seven-year period, from 2008 to 2015. During that span, Volkswagen sold or leased more than 550,000 diesel cars based on the claim. The average price of the vehicles sold was $28,000.
Among the claims the FTC contends were false:
- Volkswagen claimed the “clean diesel” vehicles have low emissions;
- Volkswagen claimed the vehicles met “stringent emission requirements;
The complaint was approved unanimously by the FTC and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.