VW and Audi Face Hefty Fines for Misleading Environmental Marketing Claims
June 19, 2017
By Amanda Branch
On December 19, 2016, the Canadian side of the diesel engine saga plaguing VW and Audi came to a close when the federal Competition Bureau reached a consent agreement for a $15 million administrative monetary penalty. The consent agreement was negotiated to address the Commissioner’s conclusions that VW and Audi had made false or misleading environmental marketing claims to promote certain vehicles with 2.0-litre diesel engines.
The Commissioner found that VW and Audi mislead consumers by promoting vehicles as having clean diesel engines with reduced emissions that were cleaner than an equivalent gasoline engine. These statements were false or misleading and were not based on adequate and proper testing, contrary to the Canada Competition Act. The vehicles passed emissions tests due to software that was installed that altered the operation of the vehicle during testing, making it appear as though emissions were reduced.
This consent agreement was related to a larger class action settlement whereby VW agreed to buy-back and restitution payments to certain Canadian consumers that could total $2.1 billion, if approved by the courts, which the Commissioner said was a factor in its decision. The consent agreement does not resolve the Commissioner’s ongoing inquiry into vehicles equipped with 3.0-litre diesel engines.
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