Mercedes-Benz has defended a marketing campaign for its brand-new E-Class against accusations that consumers were being misled about the vehicle’s self-driving capabilities, the most recent reaction from consumer groups in the wake of a fatal Tesla accident.
Customer groups cautioned vehicle buyers not to rely too greatly on innovative cruise control systems, which use computer systems and sensing units to immediately guide and brake, following a deadly crash by a Tesla automobile using “autopilot” mode.
The occurring examination of the accident involving Tesla by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has increased scrutiny of automated driving technology and the claims made about it by automakers looking to push sales.
A U.S.-based Consumer Reports told the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advising it to scrutinise Mercedes’ “The Future” campaign, which markets automated functions available in the 2017 E-Class.
The campaign notes: “Is the world truly ready for a vehicle that can drive itself? An autonomous-thinking automobile that protects those inside and outside. Ready or not, the future is here. The all new E-Class: self-braking, self-correcting, self-parking. A Mercedes-Benz concept that’s already a reality.”
“The advertisement is likely to misguide a sensible customer by representing the E-Class as self-driving when it is not,” it said in the letter, advising the FTC to do something about it to prevent customers acquiring a false complacency in the capability of an automobile to run autonomously.
A spokeswoman for Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz stated: “It was and is not our intent to trigger any confusion in between existing driver assistance systems and the vision of an autonomous future.”
She informed the advertisement included a statement that the vehicle can not drive itself, but has semi-automated driving functions and urged motorists to observe safe driving practices along with check out the operating manual for details on what the driving support systems can and cannot do.
Consumer Reports stated the cautions included in the advert may contravene FTC guidance which states that marketers can not utilize small print to oppose declarations in an advertisement or improve misconceptions the ad might leave.