Mercedes-Benz Pulls E-Class Ad After Safety Advocates Urge FTC to Investigate Self-Driving Claims

Experts

Senior Policy Analyst
Communications Director
Sr. Media Relations Associate

Friday, July 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mercedes-Benz is pulling an advertisement for its 2017 E-Class vehicles called “The Future,” which markets automated features available in the 2017 E-Class.  The move comes after Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, and consumer and auto safety advocates sent a letter the Federal Trade Commission calling on the agency to investigate the ads, citing the potential to mislead consumers into thinking that the vehicles can drive on their own, when in fact the cars come with frequent reminders for consumers to keep their hands on the wheel.

“We are relieved that Mercedes-Benz is doing the right thing for consumers by pulling these ads,” said William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “Consumers deserve clear communication about what new technologies in vehicles can and cannot do. All auto companies should be sure that their marketing choices don’t run the risk of making consumers think a car or safety feature is more capable than it is.”

The letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez was signed by Consumers Union, the Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, and Joan Claybrook, former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Contact:  David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org or Kara Kelber, kara.kelber@consumer.org202-462-6262

Consumers Union is the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports.  Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.