Press Release

TINA.org Notifies Automakers Deceptively Marketing Made in USA Vehicles

There is no such thing as a made in USA car.

MADISON, CONN. November 7, 2022 – No Super Bowl is complete without at least one car commercial teeming with red, white and blue flags and blatant nods to Americana with images of country farms, cowboy boots and apple pie. That’s because patriotism sells and no one knows that better than the car industry, which spends billions of dollars on advertising every year. But despite the patriotic marketing, the globalization of the auto industry ensures that there is no such thing as a made in the USA car; something that ad watchdog, truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) had to recently remind seven automakers taking their ad claims too far.

A TINA.org investigation found that Toyota, BMW, Honda, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Tesla, who combined account for nearly half of the U.S. market share, advertise their vehicles as “made,” “built” or “manufactured” in the United States when the cars are actually assembled in the U.S. using a significant amount of foreign parts. According to the FTC, a product advertised as “made,” “built” or “manufactured” in the USA must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States. That is, it must contain “no – or negligible – foreign content.” Examples of deceptive marketing cited in the letters include national TV commercials, YouTube ads, Facebook and Twitter posts, as well as claims made on company websites.

“While companies have every right to promote their contribution to the American economy by highlighting local workers and certain processes performed domestically, they cannot exaggerate the extent of their U.S.-based manufacturing. American consumers, who prefer products that are made in the U.S. and are even willing to pay a premium for them, deserve truthful origin marketing from the auto industry,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten.

TINA.org told each of the seven automakers that they “cannot illegally embellish the amount of manufacturing that takes place domestically,” and that they “must ensure that its marketing messages are truthful, nondeceptive, and in compliance with the law.” The ad watchdog also issued a consumer alert with information about what to watch out for regarding vehicles’ country-of-origin claims.

TINA.org has investigated and taken action on deceptive made in the USA claims made by a number of companies, including Walmart, Williams-Sonoma, and New Balance. In addition, the consumer watchdog has tracked dozens of class-action lawsuits alleging deceptive made in the USA claims.

To read more about TINA.org’s investigation of Made in USA cars, see: https://truthinadvertising.org/industries/car-companies-made-in-usa-marketing/

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