By on October 15, 2015


The Federal Trade Commission will join the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency in investigating claims that Volkswagen cheated consumers and regulators with bogus emissions claims of its diesel cars, Politico reported (via Bloomberg).

The FTC’s inquiry will focus on whether the German automaker lied to consumers about “clean diesel” claims in its advertisements when, in fact, the cars were engineered to deceive emissions tests.

The FTC, Justice Department and EPA’s investigations also joins an investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance committee on whether the automaker illegally obtained $50 million in federal subsidies through car buyers who purchased its cars and received the lean-burn technology motor vehicle credit.  In a letter to FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Sen. Bill Nelson wrote he was “outraged that VW would cheat its customers by deceiving them into buying a car that wasn’t what was advertised.”

Nelson is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The FTC investigation has the authority to force Volkswagen to refund part or all of consumers’ purchases if the department determines that the automaker committed fraud.

The FTC inquiry could join 50 states attorneys general, hundreds of civil lawsuits and there’s a lot Volkswagen is going to have to answer for, is what we’re saying.

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34 Comments on “FTC Looking into Volkswagen’s ‘Clean Diesel’ Claims Now...”

  • avatar

    CO2 is a consequence of animal life.

  • avatar

    CO2 is not now – nor ever will be a “pollutant”.
    It is 100% vital to the Photosynthesis process – with deforestation being FAR MORE SERIOUS than fossil fuel emissions.

    The only people who want it to be considered a “pollutant” are people who want to TAX IT to pilfer money from those dumb enough to allow themselves to be taxed.

    There are real “pollutants” that can be reduced or eliminated – but CO2 is ALWAYS going to be produced when fossil fuels are burned.

    EV eliminate emissions at the point of the vehicle, but they move the point of emissions to the factories producing electricity.

    If the Envrionmentaliberaltaxandspendgreeners SIMULTANEOUSLY disallow nuclear power plants then we’d never be able to produce enough electricity to feed our needs.

    Wind and Solar CAN NOT produce more than peak power. I can’t make the wind blow harder – nor can I make the sun shine more.

    The tax on Carbon Dioxide is merely a way of getting rich off of energy use. PERIOD.

    It’s like me charging a tax on you for farting – and then taking your tax dollars, getting in my private jet and LAUGHING AT YOU from 35,000 feet.

    How did this country get so stupid?

    • 0 avatar

      Your presence on this site is a pollutant.

      Yes, CO2 is a natural result of breathing. That is the baseline. We can’t force ourselves to breathe less.

      The issue is, reducing anthropogenic CO2, or excess CO2 produced above the baseline, such as burning fossil fuels.

      Too much CO2 is a bad thing. It’s not rocket science.

      • 0 avatar

        “Your presence on this site is a pollutant.”

        That’s for me to decide.

        “The issue is, reducing anthropogenic CO2, or excess CO2 produced above the baseline, such as burning fossil fuels.”

        The best you can do is parrot information you’ve heard. You’ve been indoctrinated with this stupidity. Your mind is filled with this Greener Lib nonsense. You are USELESS to me.

        • 0 avatar

          No, all the other readers on this site get to determine if your content is acceptable.

          You call it parroting, I call it learning. Can you cite some scientific studies to support your stance that excess CO2 is not harmful?

          • 0 avatar


          • 0 avatar

            LeMansteve, why would you deny another person their opinion?

            If you find the comments unacceptable simply quit reading them and move on to other comments more to your liking.

            There are plenty of people on this site who offer THEIR opinions and claim to know it all about everything without any practical experience in the real world.

          • 0 avatar


            The negative environmental effects of excess CO2 should not be considered a matter of opinion.

            99% of the time I do ignore his comments. They just don’t fit with my expectations of the content on this website. Besides, there are tons of other commenters here that are infinitely more well-spoken

          • 0 avatar

            LeMansteve, some people believe what you believe. Others do not.

            That’s what makes the world go ’round. No amount of “discussion” is going to change the others’ convictions.

            I lived through the climatic doom and gloom times of global cooling, founded in solid scientific evidence at that time. So did many others.

            Like I said, some people believe, others don’t.

            From the political perspective, as long as the believers hold the reigns of power, we will see a trend toward green-house gas reduction.

            If the non-believers come to power, coal will rise again.

    • 0 avatar
      its me Dave

      This country got stupid when they forgot everything they were supposed to have learned in Jr High science class on the Carbon Cycle. (Maybe I can TLDR it for you: as pharmacists say, it’s not the drug that makes a poison, it’s the dose.)

    • 0 avatar

      As a scientist myself, hearing the justification that because something has a use you can’t have too much of it is giving me a headache.

      That is like saying since energy is vital to life you can’t have too much sugar.

    • 0 avatar

      I applaud your ability to distract the conversation, BTSR

  • avatar

    Replying to “BigTruckSeriesReview”

    Where in this article is there any mention of CO2 as a pollutant? There’s no mention of CO2 whatsoever.

    Isn’t the issue with VW’s 2.0L diesel the higher level of NOx emmission; which is defined as a pollutant.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile the Italians are looking at whether VW broke competition laws. This is going to get very painful for VW. I’d be surprised if they don’t end up selling brands like Bentley or even Audi

  • avatar

    “The FTC investigation has the authority to force Volkswagen to refund part or all of consumers’ purchases if the department determines that the automaker committed fraud.”

    If I were a TDI owner I would want it ALL refunded. Purchase price, warranty, taxes, aquisition fees, etc etc! Maybe even pile on something punitive for my inconvenience + $hits and giggles.

  • avatar

    Maybe I missed something, but unless specific numbers were used in the campaign, what leg does to FTC have to stand on? They are technically clean if your comparing them to a 1980s diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I believe the contention is the “VW Clean Diesel” ad campaign. They ran commercials touting the their diesels to be, well, clean. The benchmark of clean is not as compared to a 1985 diesel, the benchmark is current EPA regulations. What you end up with is false advertising, which is against the law. FTC, Federal Trade Commission. If I knew how to do it quickly I would research a comment that I posted to this site when this story broke. The gist of my comment was that VW would be sued by the following: EPA, Owners, IRS, Dealers, Stockholders, & FTC, in the U.S. Then exacerbate VW’s problems by taking the same lawsuits in each and every country they do business in that has their own version of the above, I do submit that not every country does however.
      This will be a slow painful death for them.

    • 0 avatar

      Top Gear VW Scirocco advert (Power, responsibly) – James May

  • avatar

    With all the multiple agency and country piling-on, VW is going to end up serving multiple life sentences – consecutively.

  • avatar

    Lol. Imagine if regulators had gone after bad-acting banks with such aplomb.

  • avatar

    Everything gets sold under implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for purpose. So by selling TDIs that did not meet spec VW is in breach of the implied warranty. But fraud? What was VW actually promising when they called it “clean diesel”? Clean is a generic word. I took it to imply they were no longer smoky, sooty, or smelly. Which they weren’t. Does “clean” mean adherence to specific quantities of specific chemical compounds?

    I’m not defending VW for a cheat of epic proportions, but it seems like every agency in D.C. is trying to jump on and take their own personal swing at the pinata. If they find out that a TDI Jetta hit a deer somewhere, Fish & Wildlife will be chiming in.

  • avatar

    It would have been one thing if VW had just been cheating on the emissions test. But the fact they were marketing theses cars on the basis of being “clean” when they knew the cars were not clean and knew they were cheating on the tests that showed the cars to be clean, is a powerful indictment. As has been mentioned, the damages go far beyond dirtier air and people owning devalued cars. The damage includes market share taken from other manufacturers. Unless they too have similar dirty laundry, they’re sure to join the pile-on eventually. The only thing VW doesn’t seem to have done is deny and cover up the accusation for very long.

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