The US Federal Trade Commission has decided to start a probe into Volkswagen AG’s usage of advertising claims for autos that were presented as “clean diesels, ” while they were actually equipped with illegal software that cheated on emissions tests.
Justin Cole, a spokesman for the agency, has announced the FTC was now partnering with the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, which have already initiated their own formal probes into the world’s largest automaker by sales after the first six months back in September. “We have been cooperating with all of the agencies that have come to us,” commented Jeannine Ginivan, a spokeswoman for Volkswagen. Volkswagen has equipped about 11 million cars globally with the illegal software during the past seven years. Around half a million of them can be found in the US – where the so called “defeat” device could turn on the emissions control systems under laboratory testing conditions and switch them off on the road to lift performance, but spewing up to 40 times more pollutants than allowed by the US standards.
The company has already provisioned 6.5 billion euros ($7.4 billion) during the third quarter to address the financial toll of the scandal but has since realized the sum would not be enough to cover – resorting to delaying or canceling non-essential projects to limit expenses. With government investigations pending in the US, Germany and other countries, the company will also have to repair or refit all the cars and then resolve at least 280 class-action lawsuits in America alone.