The U.S. Federal Trade Commission became the latest agency in that country to file suit against Volkswagen, claiming the German carmaker’s American subsidiary falsely advertised more than 500,000 diesel vehicles as low-emission, knowing that they were not.
The Trade Commission is asking the court to order Volkswagen Group of America “to compensate U.S. consumers who bought polluting vehicles,” Reuters reports. If the suit succeeds, it will increase pressure on the company to compensate car buyers who were misled by its advertising world-wide: some 11 million purchasers.
The FTC filed suit against the Volkswagen unit in San Francisco, saying U.S. consumers had suffered “billions of dollars in injury” as a result of VW’s deception.
The company has admitted it used software in its diesel Volkswagens, Audis, and Porsches to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution and still pass emission tests.
VW is also facing a $46-billion legal claim from the U.S. Justice Department for violating environmental laws, as well as more than 500 civil lawsuits related to excess emissions, Reuters reports. It is negotiating settlements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and several other U.S. states.
A federal court has ordered VW to deliver a fix for its engines by April 21. “Our most important priority is to find a solution to the diesel emissions matter,” company spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Reuters. Some experts however, believe diesel engines that were designed to be low-emitting only selectively, cannot be made to meet pollution standards consistently.