FTC sues VW over false ‘Clean Diesel’ advertising claims

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN RAFAEL, CA - A logo is displayed on a sign in front of a Volkswagen dealership (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A federal consumer watchdog has sued Volkswagen, charging the company made false claims in commercials promoting its “Clean Diesel” vehicles as environmentally friendly.

The German automaker hastily pulled the ads following last year’s admission it had installed illegal software on its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests. U.S. regulators say Volkswagen’s engines spewed up to 40 times the allowed levels of air pollutants in real-world driving conditions.

The Federal Trade Commission alleges that Volkswagen deceived customers during this seven-year period by selling more than 550,000 diesel cars based on fraudulent claims made through a marketing campaign. That campaign included Super Bowl ads, online social media campaigns and print advertising.

The lawsuit is the latest blow to VW, which also faces more than $20 billion in potential environmental fines.