After the FBI shut down a series of social engineering schemes designed to undermine the company, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced a new investigation into the alleged misuse of technology by automakers.
In the announcement on Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Steven T. Parnell said he and the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Unit have been looking into whether Ford and others used social engineering to push their products.
Ford declined to comment for this story.
The bureau closed its investigation in June 2015 after finding no evidence that Ford or any other auto company had manipulated its sales numbers.
A new investigation is expected to examine whether Ford used a social engineering strategy in the early 2000s to manipulate the sales figures of its cars.
Ford is currently the subject of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and is seeking to recover nearly $7 billion in losses related to the fraudulent sales schemes.
The company has said it will settle the SEC’s probe and that the agency did not conduct an adequate investigation into its marketing tactics.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday night, Ford’s vice president of marketing and consumer product operations, Greg Clark, acknowledged that Ford used social-engineering tactics during its marketing efforts.
He said the company has “no regrets about the way we used social media to reach the consumer in the marketplace.”
Clark said Ford “looks forward to cooperating with this investigation” and is not aware of any social engineering operations that the company might have conducted.
“Our focus has always been on selling the best quality vehicles in the market and we don’t take social engineering lightly,” Clark said.