Citing "billions [of dollars] in injury" as a consequence of the ad campaign, the FTC said it was aiming to win compensation for customers who bought or leased a car affected by the emissions scandal. It also said it sought an injunction to ”prevent Volkswagen from engaging in this type of conduct again”.
The FTC put the number of vehicles implicated in the scandal at 550,000, with an average price of $28,000 (around £19,500), with the most expensive affected Audi models topping $100,000. The expected cost to Volkswagen has not been announced, but it’s likely to be linked to Volkswagen’s claim that the cars would have high residual values.
The adverts in question included TV spots aired during the Super Bowl, as well as other advertising methods, including social media and print campaigns. The main message of the adverts was the lessened environmental impact inflicted by the diesel engines, which, in fact, were fitted with defeat devices used to disguise the cars’ emissions under testing.
The FTC is a US government agency, set up to protect consumers, and prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce".
A Volkswagen spokesman said: “Volkswagen has received the complaint and continues to co-operate with all relevant US regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission. 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.”