AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Audi of America, LLC Thursday over violations of state consumer protection laws, along with a separate suit charging that the companies violated clean air standards in Texas.
The lawsuits allege the companies misled Texas consumers by marketing and selling diesel vehicles as “clean” while knowing that these vehicles were designed to meet emission standards only when being tested; outside of the testing station they would emit up to 40 times the allowable standard for certain pollutants.
“For years, Volkswagen intentionally mislead consumers about the environmental and performance qualities of the vehicles they sold in Texas,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “When companies willfully violate the public’s trust, a penalty must be paid, and we will hold these entities responsible.”
The state is seeking restitution on behalf of Texas consumers who were victimized by Volkswagen’s deceptions and misrepresentations as well as an injunction barring the companies from engaging in such practices in the future. The state also seeks civil penalties to deter Volkswagen and others from similar behavior in the future.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen vehicle’s emissions would run up to 40 times higher than the amount shown during the emissions standards testing. Volkswagen confirmed more than 480,000 such vehicles were sold in the United States. Texas consumers have purchased approximately 32,000 of these vehicles since their introduction to the market.
The defendants have approximately 49 authorized car dealerships in the state of Texas, including three in Travis County, where the lawsuit was filed. Beginning with the 2009 model year, the “clean diesel” vehicles at issue are marketed as low emissions, high efficiency and high performance – however, the vehicles can only achieve the latter two claims by sacrificing the first.
Paxton has been indicted by a grand jury for securities fraud.
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