Volkswagen faces billions of dollars in potential new penalties after the top US consumer watchdog hit the carmaker with a lawsuit over its emissions cheating scandal.
The Federal Trade Commission is pursuing compensation for consumers that could rise beyond $15bn, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday seeking the repayment of “ill-gotten monies”.
The FTC alleges that VW systemically deceived customers over seven years with an advertising campaign promoting “clean diesel” vehicles that were in reality much dirtier than government rules permitted.
VW has admitted to equipping up to 11m diesel-powered cars around the world with software that tricked regulators by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions only when pollution tests were under way.
Six months since the scandal broke VW finds itself surrounded by hostile forces itching to punish it, ranging from the FTC and the US Department of Justice to the French government and German prosecutors.
Even before the FTC lawsuit UBS analysts were predicting the scandal would end up costing the carmaker ￠38bn, including ￠10bn in civil penalties and ￠9bn in criminal fines.
“It seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel so far,” said Ingo Speich, portfolio manager of Union Investment, a VW shareholder.
Edith Ramirez, FTC chairwoman, told the Financial Times: “From what we know the conduct here appears to be quite egregious.”
It relates to 550,000 vehicles sold since late 2008. If the FTC secured compensation equal to an average sale price of $28,000 for the vehicles — which would be consistent with past cases — it would add up to more than $15bn.
美国联邦贸易委员会（Federal Trade Commission，简称FTC）周二提交的一份寻求让大众汽车偿还“不当得利”的诉状显示，该机构正在为消费者们争取最高或超过150亿美元的赔偿。
大众汽车股东、联丰投资(Union Investment)资产组合经理英戈?施派希(Ingo Speich)表示：“到目前为止似乎还看不到曙光。”