You can add the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the long list of those suing Volkswagen. The agency wants the automaker to be ordered to compensate the 550,000 consumers who bought or leased a TDI "clean diesel" car from VW.
“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. “Our lawsuit seeks compensation for the consumers who bought affected cars based on Volkswagen’s deceptive and unfair practices.”
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) had asked the agency in September to investigate VW after news of the defeat devices broke.
“This was one of the most egregious examples of a company deceiving the public,” said Nelson in a statement today. “Hopefully, the court will provide adequate redress to consumers and send a strong message that this type of corporate behavior won’t be tolerated. ”
VW is struggling to come up with a plan to retrofit the emission control devices on its cars so that they comply with federal and California emission standards. A federal judge in California last week gave VW 30 more days to submit a plan to the court. If it fails to do so, the court could order Volkswagen to buy back the cars or otherwise compensate owners.
The FTC's suit charges that Volkswagen deliberately deceived consumers from 2008 through 2015 with advertisements and promotional materials targeting environmentally-conscious consumers, promising that its TDI-equipped cars produced lower emissions than other diesels while achieving high gas mileage and spirited performance.
In fact, the suit says the cars produced up to 4,000 percent more than the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a harmful chemical that damages the environment and causes respiratory problems in humans and other animals.
"Our most important priority is to find a solution to the diesel emissions matter and earn back the trust of our customers and dealers as we build a better company," VW said in a statement.