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Press Release

THE ITALIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY FINES THE VOLKSWAGEN GROUP FOR TAMPERING WITH THEIR VEHICLES’ EMISSIONS CONTROL SYSTEMS

The Italian Competition Authority found that Volkswagen AG e Volkswagen Group Italia S.p.A. have been jointly breaching unfair commercial practices legislation, and imposed a fine of 5 million euros, i.e. the maximum fine provided by the law. 

Since 2009, the companies have been marketing in Italy diesel vehicles (with engines known as EA189 EU5) equipped with a defeat device which would trigger some emissions controls only during laboratory testing. As a consequence, nitrogen oxide pollutants’ emissions resulted much lower than in ordinary driving conditions.

According to the Authority, such practice is unfair pursuant to the Consumer Code, inasmuch as it is contrary to the requirements of professional diligence and is likely to materially distort the economic behaviour of consumers, causing them to take transactional decisions they would not have taken had they been aware of the actual features of the vehicles at stake.

The Authority also objected to specific green claims contained in several informative catalogues distributed by the Volkswagen group, as well as to those advertisements underlining the producers’ environmental awareness, or their particular attention to the emissions’ levels of their cars.

According to the agency, available evidence suggests that those advertisements are likely to mislead consumers as to the producers’ environmental commitment, their corporate responsibility as well as their compliance with applicable regulations.

Rome, 8 August 2016