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Business

US Federal Trade Commission sues Volkswagen

The agency has demanded compensation for consumers misled by VW ads falsley touting its 'clean diesel' vehicles. Resale values have dropped since emissions-cheating software was found, the suit claims.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Tuesday that it is suing Volkswagen (VW) for deceiving American consumers, opening yet another front in the battle the carmaker faces in the country.

"For years Volkswagen's ads touted the company's 'Clean Diesel' cars even though it now appears Volkswagen rigged the cars with devices to defeat emissions tests," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said.

The complaint mentions Super Bowl ads and social media campaigns that often targeted "environmentally conscious" consumers. Promotional materials repeatedly claimed that its diesel vehicles reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent, for instance.

But the vehicles have been found to emit up to 4,000 percent more than the legal limit of NOx, the FTC said.

The FTC also cited the reduced resale value of diesel vehicles with the deceptive software installed.

"Our lawsuit seeks compensation for the consumers who bought affected cars based on Volkswagen's deceptive and unfair practices," Ramirez continued. The vehicles in question include VW and Audi models from late 2008 to late 2015.

A legal barrage

In filing the suit to the US District Court in San Francisco, the FTC joins the US Justice Department, a handful of US states, and hundreds of US consumers in bringing grievances against the carmaker to court.

VW is already under pressure by the US District Court to develop a solution to repair cars and repay customers.

Last week, Judge Charles Breyer, presiding over the cases filed by consumers, granted VW an extension until April to come up with a feasible plan in cooperation with the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Judge Breyer threatened that the case could escalate if the carmaker failed to deliver.

jtm/jd (AFP, Reuters)