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Volkswagen under FTC probe in US over emissions scandal


[WASHINGTON] The US Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday that it had joined an investigation with other government agencies into the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal.

"I can confirm that the FTC is coordinating with other federal agencies who are investigating Volkswagen," an FTC spokesperson said, in an email to AFP.

The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the California Air Resources Board, are probing Volkswagen's use of software on its diesel cars that fools official emissions tests.

The German automaker admitted last month that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide have a so-called "defeat device" that allows the cars to pass emissions tests but turns off when the car is not being tested, allowing the engines to spew 40 times the limit of nitrogen oxide pollution.

EPA fines related to the nearly 500,000 diesel cars that Volkswagen sold in the United States equipped with the software could run to US$18 billion.

The FTC, under its mandate to protect consumers, investigates deceptive advertising. VW has promoted its diesel vehicles as less polluting than gasoline-powered models.

In the widening scandal, Volkswagen, the world's largest automaker by sales, has ousted its chief executive and set aside 6.5 billion euros (S$9 billion) in provisions in the third quarter, but its new chief executive has said that sum would only cover the costs of repairs.