A record-high fine of 120.6 million Polish zloty (31.8 million U.S. dollars) has been imposed on automaker Volkswagen Group Poland for misleading customers about the emissions of its vehicles, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) said here on Wednesday.
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"Volkswagen manipulated the emissions indicators and it misled consumers by claiming that its vehicles are environment-friendly. Environmental awareness has been rising in Poland, so many consumers could have deliberately favored cars that emit smaller amounts of harmful substances," UOKiK President Marek Niechcial said in a statement on Wednesday.
Niechcial said that the level of the fine was justified by the fact that the unfair practice had lasted for eight years and that the company had made no steps towards reaching a deal.
The fine, which can still be appealed, is the highest in the history of the Polish consumer watchdog.
Poland is the second country to slap fines on the German automaker after Italy's consumer protection agency earlier fined the company five million euros.
The "dieselgate" scandal erupted after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed engines in several types of cars to activate emissions controls only during testing. This meant that, while the cars met the standards during testing, they were later likely to emit up to 40 times more in real-world driving conditions