By on March 29, 2016


It wasn’t so clean, was it?

The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Volkswagen on March 29, claiming the automaker’s “Clean Diesel” ad campaign was a deception that tricked buyers into purchasing its supposedly eco-friendly vehicles.

By filing the complaint against Volkswagen, the FTC (which can’t levy fines) would be able to seek compensation for buyers via a federal court order.

“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 statement.

“Our lawsuit seeks compensation for the consumers who bought affected cars based on Volkswagen’s deceptive and unfair practices.”

The lawsuit is the latest in a biblically long list of legal action being taken against the company in the wake of the scandal.

The court order concerns diesel Volkswagens sold in the U.S. between late 2008 and late 2015, a total of nearly 600,000 vehicles.

According to the FTC, the now-notorious “Clean Diesel” ad campaign pushed vehicles by claiming they were low emission, environmentally friendly and would hold a high resale value.

In its promotional materials, Volkswagen claimed that its diesel engines reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent, when in reality they belched them out at up to 4,000 percent of the legal limit. The automaker’s claim of being compliant with emissions regulations in all states also figures into the FTC’s lawsuit.

The vote that led the FTC to file suit was a unanimous one.

Volkswagen continues to hunt for an acceptable fix for all of the defeat device-rigged diesels, and was recently allowed an extension to a court-ordered deadline. It has until April 21 to unveil a plan on how it will fix, or possibly buy back, the recalled vehicles.

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21 Comments on “Volkswagen Targeted by Federal Trade Commission Lawsuit...”

  • avatar

    The productive SUFFER.

    The government just searches for ways to tax and fine at the expense of the little man.

    How many innocent employees will suffer?

    • 0 avatar

      Simple, play by the rules and you won’t suffer.

      • 0 avatar

        The lawsuit won’t enrich the government. It is to recompense American consumers who were duped by a very large foreign corporation.

        Reading comprehension.

        • 0 avatar

          VoGo, Have there been instances where the FTC won a suit and gave money it won to victims?

          The Feds have been fining banks a number of times over the last 10 years. I recall some of the Madoff victims being given money, but can’t think of another instance when victims got paid when the Feds fined a bank or financial institution.

    • 0 avatar

      If that’s what suffering looks like…

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t worry too much. VW management consciously tried to deceive people… and got caught. They should be jailed. Too bad VW personnel has to suffer the consequences. What surprises me is the sheer arrogance that they thought they could get away with this. That may well have a lot to do with the EU’s testing methods, that were toned down quite a bit under the influence of the powerful German auto industry lobby.

    • 0 avatar

      Do you have a macro programmed for this stuff? Are you seriously arguing that companies should be allowed to blatantly lie to their customers and not suffer any consequences? This is not some minor semantic dispute over an obscure part of the CFR, this was simple deception. In what universe do we decide that should be no big deal and everybody can just go on “producing” the same way they always have?

    • 0 avatar

      I bought my Audi diesel on the premise that it was a green(er) product. It was a totally discretionary transaction. I don’t understand the Ayn Rand libertarian hogwash defense here. If they had been honest about the product I would have either kept my S4 longer or bought something else. They lied I bought. This wasn’t a Bernie Madoff, I wanted something for nothing deal; they traded on their marque’s prestige and credibility. Why would there be protection for intentional deception? Additionally, of course it is terrible for the downstream businesses (dealers/servicers), but they should be lining up with us.

  • avatar

    Do they really make their sales guys wear those wanky shirts?

  • avatar

    Just for the record, there are a multitude of Audi owners who take issue with the slogan “Truth in Engineering”

  • avatar

    HOMER: [half asleep] Change the channel, Marge!

  • avatar

    You’d think by now VW would have gotten the message that the longer they wait to settle, the worse it’s going to get. I’m sure the United States Code and Code of Federal Regulations have plenty more things hidden in their depths to charge them with, and the Hits Just Keep On Coming until they negotiate a solution with the Feds, CARB, etc.

  • avatar

    just give me my money back, thx

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I believe you’ll get some back, but not what you want.

    • 0 avatar

      You’d get full price, only for the unused miles.

      Except you were deceived with a “CLEAN DIESEL” TDI actually belching out the equivalent *emissions* of 40 or 50 cars, of the TDI you were told you were buying.

      You’re no doubt breathing in at least one of those 40 or 50 TDI’s exhaust directly, like it’s idling INSIDE THE CAR, with you and your family.

      On 2nd thought, maybe you should get back all your money.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Sounds like VW took a page from the cigarette manufacturers advertising “light” and “ultra light” cigarettes being a safer and better product.

    When in reality they were worse.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “biblically long list of legal action” — nice phrase

    As I mentioned in another thread on this subject, I’ve become convinced they’re merely spending their 1-month hiatus getting a legal/financial settlement in order. They are probably communicating through back channels to assure it is approved when presented.

    There won’t be a technical fix. And I don’t think CA will let these cars stay on the road.

    • 0 avatar

      If that looks like it’s going to happen (refusing registrations) I’m going to buy stock in Orville redenbacher. It will be a sh!t show on a scale we have rarely seen. It all depends on how politically insulated the regulators feel, and on how much involvement the elected politicians have on their management.

      Be prepared for an outright declaration of war by nada.

  • avatar

    This angle I hadn’t thought about before. To date I’ve only considered making owners (including dealers) whole again.

    I wonder how many countries have laws concerning deceptive advertising? Volkswagen is in more trouble than I thought, and I thought they were in enough trouble to bankrupt before this suit.

    Consumers should still be able to bring individual suits regardless of what the FTC does.

    Nice correct usage of caps in the word “biblically.” Too often mis-capitalized, it is only used with a capital letter when makng direct reference to the Biblical document itself.

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