A Palm Beach County woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen and car dealer AutoNation over charges that the manufacturer rigged some vehicles to hide the level of harmful emissions they produced.
Lisa Lowrance spent nearly $27,000 on a 2013 VW Beetle — which had been advertised as “clean diesel” — at the AutoNation Volkswagen Delray dealership last year, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
$5 millionAmount sought in damages against Volkswagen, AutoNation
Lowrance said she would not have purchased the car had she known the German automaker installed devices in its cars that limited emissions during government testing but not during normal driving. She is seeking $5 million in damages.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Volkswagen has admitted wrongdoing and set aside an initial $7.3 billion to cover fines and other fallout from the scandal, the Associated Press reported.
‘Clean diesel’ was a hoax.
Scott Schlesigner, plaintiff’s attorney
The class-action suit accuses Volkswagen and Autonation of fraud and deception and says the car maker violated the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
“ ‘Clean diesel’ was a hoax,” Scott Schlesinger, Lowrance’s attorney, said in a statement. “Ms. Lowrance thought she was buying an eco-friendly car, when in fact she was unwittingly contributing to unlawful carbon emissions at up to 40 times the pollution allowed.”
Marc Cannon, chief marketing officer for Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation, called the inclusion of his company in the lawsuit “absolutely ridiculous.”
“This suit has no merit,” Cannon said. “We had no idea that any of this was transpiring at Volkswagen. We learned about this just like everybody else did through the media.”
AutoNation is the U.S.’s largest car dealer. It sold its Delray Beach dealership earlier this year.
Volkswagen did not respond to a request for comment.