VW has had a major push to sell diesel cars in the US, backed by a huge marketing campaign trumpeting its cars' low emissions. Photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

WARSAW – Poland’s consumer watchdog UOKiK said on Wednesday that it was fining Volkswagen (VW) more than 120 million zlotys ($31.6 million) for misleading customers about the emissions of its vehicles.

The fine, the biggest ever given by the regulator for violation of consumer rights, is the latest chapter in a global emissions cheating scandal that has cost VW about €30 billion in fines, vehicle refits and legal costs, and also triggered a global backlash against diesel vehicles.

“False information in advertising materials caused misinformation - they referred to Volkswagen’s pro-ecological attitude, when in fact the cars were not environmentally friendly,” UOKiK president Marek Niechcial said in a statement.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

VW in 2015 admitted to cheating US emissions tests on diesel engines.

VW has had a major push to sell diesel cars in the US, backed by a huge marketing campaign trumpeting its cars' low emissions.

The EPA's findings cover 482 000 cars in the US only, including the VW-manufactured Audi A3, and the VW models Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat. 

But VW has admitted that about 11 million cars worldwide, including eight million in Europe, are fitted with the so-called "defeat device".

The company has also been accused by the EPA of modifying software on the 3 litre diesel engines fitted to some Porsche and Audi as well as VW models. 

The German vehicle maker has admitted cheating emissions tests in the US, which affect at least 10 000 vehicles.

Additional reporting by Staff Reporter.

Reuters