The environmental activist group has launched the global campaign alongside a report that it says aims to “highlight key failures by Volkswagen to live up to the company’s carefully crafted reputation as a family-friendly and environmentally responsible car manufacturer”.
Greenpeace claims the car manufacturer, which is the largest in Europe, is “using its huge political muscle to lobby against key environmental laws” despite making claims that it wants to be “the most eco-friendly car automaker in the world”.
The group also claims that Volkswagen has not made more efficient and fuel saving cars standard across its fleet.
In London, Greenpeace has taken out billboard ads in Old Street while activists dressed as Stormtroopers are protesting outside the company’s UK head office in Milton Keynes.
The campaign includes a Star Wars themed website that encourages consumers to sign up to its “Rebel Manifesto” to petition the car manufacturer. At the time of writing 1,852 people had signed up to the site.
Greenpeace says the campaign aims to “turn Volkswagen away from the Dark Side”.
A Volkswagen spokesman says: “It was a bit of a shock as we’ve never been attacked on environmental front before. We are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and will obviously pay attention to what Greenpeace is saying. We will look at the report and respond to it.”
He adds that the attack from Greenpeace follows talks two weeks ago at which point the environmental group made positive comments about the car manufacturer’s progress in reducing CO2 emissions.
He also says that is was the first car manufacturer to introduce a vehicle that produces under 100g CO2/km in Europe, has reduced CO2 emissions by 20% on some vehicles and plans to launch an eco car with under 24g CO2/km.
The global campaign launches in fourteen countries including China, Canada, US, UK, Germany and France today.
The Volkswagen Darth Vader ad first launched in the US during the Super Bowl and later launched in the UK. It recently won the Golden Lion award at Cannes.