Volkswagen can’t seem to get a break, and it deserves every bit of it for cheating buyers who trusted that its “clean” diesel engines were indeed an environmentally friendly alternative. Today, the dogpile laying atop the automaker gets one more participant in the Federal Trade Commission as the agency has filed a lawsuit against the embattled company.
According to Automotive News, the FTC filed this lawsuit due to deceptive advertising for its “clean diesel” engines, like the cheeky “Three Old Wives Talk Dirty” ad below. The FTC alleges Volkswagen promised prospective buyers that these diesel engines were cleaner than gasoline powerplants, but as we all now know, these engines actually emit up to 40 times the legally allowed toxins.
The FTC didn’t attach a dollar figure to its lawsuit, but it does claim that about 580,000 illegal diesel rigs have been sold since 2009 at an average of $28,000 a pop. If the FTC went after the German automaker for 100 percent of these sales, the brand would have to pony up a whopping $16.24 billion. Chances are, the FTC won’t get anywhere near that amount, but it is sure to still be a significant number with a bunch of zeros.
With the various fines looming from countries around the world, VW was on shaky enough ground, and this lawsuit clouds things up even more. Chances are Volkswagen will survive all of this, but it will likely undergo serious growing pains as it pulls out of the dieselgate scandal.
Stay tuned for more details.