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Federal Trade Commission sues Volkswagen for deceptive diesel advertising

Clean diesel? More like being taken to the cleaners.

All these figures being thrown around are far in excess of the $7 billion or so that VW initially set aside to deal with Dieselgate.


James Leynse/Corbis

Do you remember Volkswagen's "clean diesel" ad campaign for its TDI lineup? The Federal Trade Commission sure as hell does. In fact, now that Volkswagen's admitted to selling diesel vehicles that pollute over legal limits, the FTC is not too happy with those ads. So unhappy, in fact, that it filed suit Tuesday against Volkswagen Group of America.

The crux of the case lies behind the use of "clean diesel," when it's now abundantly clear that the diesel ain't so clean. Thus, Volkswagen is being accused of deceitful advertising related to that campaign, which spanned print, television and online ads. Per Reuters, the FTC is looking for a court order that will force VW to compensate diesel owners who may have purchased their cars under what could now be considered false pretenses.

"Volkswagen has received the complaint and continues to cooperate with all relevant US regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission," Volkswagen said in an emailed statement. "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."

It's not exactly clear how much the FTC wants from Volkswagen. Reuters did not mention a figure, but USA Today's Nathan Bomey tweeted that the feds are seeking more than $15 billion. Volkswagen is already facing a $46 billion lawsuit from the US Justice Department over the same case.

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