Federal Trade Commission Joins VW Emissions Probe

Agency's Involvement Comes Amid Charges of Deceptive Advertising

By Published on .

Volkswagen Clean Diesel
Volkswagen Clean Diesel Credit: Volkswagen
Most Popular

Add the Federal Trade Commission to the list of agencies investigating Volkswagen, which is accused of evading emissions testing in a scandal that broke in September.

FTC spokesman Justin Cole in a statement said the "FTC is coordinating with other federal agencies who are investigating Volkswagen." Other federal agencies that are probing the automaker include the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

A VW spokesman said "Volkswagen is fully cooperating with all investigations regarding the emissions compliance issue."

The FTC's involvement comes three weeks after Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., called on the FTC to probe whether VW's advertising of the environmental benefits of its "clean diesels" fell under laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive practices.

"Volkswagen advertised their diesel cars as 'clean diesel' and as otherwise environmentally friendly. Yet, contrary to these express claims, Volkswagen's and Audi's diesel vehicles, by design, were neither clean nor environmentally friendly, and they failed to comply with federal environmental laws," Mr. Nelson wrote in a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, according to a recent report by Automotive News.

VW began pulling its "clean diesel" ads after the scandal broke in late September. But the auto brand has not pulled all TV ads. One spot getting airplay as recently as Wednesday is called "Family Dog," which touts the roominess of a couple of VW SUV models by showing a dog in the back of the auto, according to ad tracker iSpot.

VW's U.S. creative agency is Deutsch Los Angeles and its PR agency is Edelman.