Can the Volkswagen brand be tarnished? Brands can have their image tarnished easily and it is how they respond to these crisis of credibility that establishes how strong the brand really is. We have seen this when the iPhone 5 debuted to rumors and stories of significant problems with the phone, and only because Apple responded immediately, and remedied the concerns regarding this problem that the brand continued to flourish and grow to become the #1 Brand value in the world.
The brand is in a very difficult position right now with respect to their having software to override the clean emissions testing of their diesel vehicles. They need to be responsive, be clear in their communications, and not deceptive in their future practices to avoid a negative impact on their brand. The following article talks about the further damage being caused to their brand by having the FTC Sue the company over deceptive advertising, so it is going to be critical now that Volkswagen get on top of this story, and be forthright in dealing with the concerns and issues being raised with their consumers.
The US Government is suing Volkswagen for false advertising as a result of VW misrepresenting the cleanliness of its diesel-powered cars in numerous advertisements over the past eight years.
This lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California by the US Federal Trade Commission, states that Volkswagen’s advertising claimed its “Clean Diesel” vehicles had low emissions, were environmentally friendly, and retained a high resale value. Now, we know that none of those things are true, and the FTC is looking to punish Volkswagen’s alleged unfair and deceptive practices.
CONSUMERS SPENT BILLIONS BUYING VW CARS THANKS TO THE ADS
The filing includes a long list of VW advertisements, from television, press releases, mailers, and even marketing taglines from Volkswagen’s automobile window stickers that it says are false advertising.
The FTC is alleging deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC act — these are unfair if “they cause or are likely to cause substantial injury to consumers that consumers cannot reasonably avoid themselves and that is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or competition.”
The suit does not ask for any specific monetary damages, instead it asks for relief that the court finds necessary to compensate consumers harmed by Volkswagen’s alleged unfair practices.
THE SUIT ASKS FOR “RELIEF AS THE COURT FINDS NECESSARY” TO COMPENSATE VW BUYERS
Volkswagen has been dealing with the fallout of Dieselgate for six months now, and without any solutions for customers yet, time could soon be running out on their patience. So far Volkswagen has some solutions for customers in Europe, but not in the US, and we have not seen any indication about what civil and criminal penalties could amount to — though they could easily run into the tens of billions of dollars.
Volkswagen gave this statement to The Verge: “Volkswagen has received the complaint and continues to cooperate with all relevant U.S. regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission. Our most important priority is to find a solution to the diesel emissions matter and earn back the trust of our customers and dealers as we build a better company.”