FTC Sues VW Over Deceptive ‘Clean Diesel’ Advertising

By Paul Riegler on 30 March 2016
  • Share

DSC_0193The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Volkswagen, claiming the beleaguered automaker falsely touted its diesel-powered vehicles as “clean” and environmentally friendly.

The move follows the October announcement of a probe into VW’s advertising practices, which came about after Volkswagen admitted it had installed software that lowers the emission levels of its diesels during pollution testing.

The FTC filed the false-advertising complaint in federal court in San Francisco, where civil litigation against Volkswagen has now been consolidated. The complaint alleges that, over a seven-year period, Volkswagen “deceived consumers by selling or leasing more than 550,000 diesel cars based on false claims that the cars were low-emission, environmentally friendly, met emissions standards and would maintain a high resale value.”

Volkswagen was the largest seller of diesel-powered automobiles in the United States by volume, and its advertising focused on the very attributes the FTC is targeting, stating that the vehicles met “stringent emissions standards.” Ad slogans for the company’s Clean Diesel lineup, which included Volkswagen Golfs, Jettas, Passats, and Touraregs as well as Audi A4 models, left no room for doubt in a car buyer’s mind that diesel was “no longer a dirty word.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)