Summary of Action

TINA.org investigated the marketing for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, which revealed that Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) was running a multimillion-dollar deceptive national marketing campaign that made the unqualified claim that its 2019 Sprinter van is “Built in the USA” at its newly remodeled South Carolina plant.

Specifically, MBUSA was claiming — on national television, websites, social media platforms, internet ads, radio commercials, and to the press — that its 2019 Sprinter is Built in the USA despite the fact that 90% of a 2,390-vehicle sampling of 2019 Sprinter vans offered for sale online by U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealerships between February and March 2019 were imported from Germany, according to origin information obtained from each vehicle’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Further, upon information and belief, the 2019 Sprinters produced at Mercedes-Benz’s South Carolina plant contain significant non-U.S. components and do not meet the Federal Trade Commission’s standard for making unqualified Built in the USA marketing claims (which the FTC treats as synonymous with Made in the USA).

Based on these findings, TINA.org sent a warning letter to the company on March 22, 2019 explaining its findings and asking that it promptly remove from publication all marketing materials that make deceptive Built in USA claims.

As a result of TINA.org’s letter, MBUSA halted its Built in USA campaign for the 2019 Sprinter.

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