FTC Says Volkswagen Ads Were Deceptive

The Federal Trade Commission has charged Volkswagen Group of America with making deceptive claims in ads, including a Super Bowl spot.

In further fallout from the company's emission admission—the cars were rigged to defeat emission tests—the FTC has gone to court to get Volkswagen to compensate consumers who bought or leased an affected vehicle.

In its court complaint, the FTC says Volkswagen advertised vehicles as environmentally friendly "clean diesel" when they were instead rigged to mask levels of pollutants up to 4,000 percent above the legal limit, pollutants linked to "smog, acid rain, water quality deterioration, childhood asthma, other respiratory ailments, and premature death," the FTC said. 

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 FTC is also claiming the installation of the emission-defeating software was an unfair practice.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.