Back in 2008, Volkswagen launched its “Clean Diesel” advertisement campaign, which aimed to convince the masses that clean-burning diesel, not hybrid or electric technology, was the most effective way to drive in an environmentally conscious manner. They say hindsight is 20/20, but given what has transpired since, it’s hard to look back on the commercials without bursting a blood vessel or six.
The ads are far more than annoying though, because according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the campaign was intentionally deceitful and perhaps even illegal. On March 29, the commission filed a complaint in federal court that would require Volkswagen to compensate American consumers who bought or leased an affected vehicle between 2008 and 2015.
“For years Volkswagen’s ads touted the company’s ‘Clean Diesel’ cars even though it now appears Volkswagen rigged the cars with devices designed to defeat emissions tests,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Our lawsuit seeks compensation for the consumers who bought affected cars based on Volkswagen’s deceptive and unfair practices.”
Throughout the campaign — which was featured in Super Bowl spots, social media movements, and print ads — Volkswagen promoted its diesel products as environmentally friendly, 50-state compliant, and conducive to a high resale value. These claims were obviously false, however the infamous “defeat device” installed on over 500,000 VW and Audi vehicles fooled emissions testing equipment (and the rest of the world) into thinking they were not. The case will be decided by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.
Volkswagen’s current troubles aren’t solely related to the Dieselgate scandal, however, because on March 29, the brand announced the recall of 5,561 e-Golf’s due to a defect that can result in “unexpected shutdowns.” The fault lies with the battery management software, however the company has already notified e-Golf owners of the issue and will upgrade the software free of charge. You can read more about the story right here.