According to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of Northern California, Volkswagen of America launched a “high-profile marketing campaign” that targeted environmentally-conscious consumers with claims that the company’s “Clean Diesel” vehicles had low emissions. The lawsuit says this was deceptive as the company’s diesel-powered models actually had nitrogen oxide emissions that were up to 4,000 percent higher than legally allowed.
The FTC alleges the deception went on for a seven-year period in which Volkswagen convinced consumers to buy or lease more than 550,000 diesel-powered vehicles. The agency also notes Volkswagen claimed the models would have a high resale value but “hidden defeat devices will significantly reduce the vehicles’ resale value.”
The lawsuit is asking the court to require Volkswagen to compensate consumers who bought or leased an affected vehicle between late 2008 and late 2015. The FTC lawsuit was filed on behalf of owners who drive TDI versions of the Jetta, Passat, and Touareg as well as all Audi vehicles equipped with a TDI engine.