Credit: Gerry Lauzon/Flickr

Volkswagen's problems are going from bad to worse

Now the scandal-hit car maker is being sued by America's consumer watchdog.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 10 May 2016

Volkswagen’s legal team has another lawsuit to add to the pile. After admitting installing software to cheat emissions tests, it’s now being sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the USA’s main consumer rights watchdog, for allegedly misleading ‘clean diesel’ adverts.

The FTC says VW ‘deceived consumers’ over seven years, during which time it sold or leased 550,000 cars ‘based on false claims that the cars were low-emission, environmentally friendly, met emissions standards and would maintain a high resale value.’ It’s seeking a court order forcing VW to compensate all affected consumers and an injunction to ‘prevent Volkswagen from engaging in this type of conduct again.’ The latter of which seems a little pointless given VW was already breaking the rules.

The watchdog isn’t pulling any punches. ‘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 its chairwoman Edith Ramirez. ‘Our lawsuit seeks compensation for the consumers who bought affected cars based on Volkswagen’s deceptive and unfair practices.’

The FTC case follows a $46bn (£32bn) claim by America’s Department of Justice for its violation of environmental laws, and it also faces more than 500 civil suits. And that’s just in the US – it’s also facing a €3.3bn (£2.6bn) suit from German investors in the company and being investigated by the European Commission. Brazil and South Korea have also hit the company with eight-figure fines. Add to all that the sales it has lost since the scandal emerged and the cost of VW’s wrongdoing is really beginning to pile up.

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