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FTC orders Ford to correct false marketing claim

The Fair Trade Commission captured this image of an advertisement from Ford Sales and Service Korea, which misrepresents the features of one of its vehicles. (Fair Trade Commission)
The Fair Trade Commission captured this image of an advertisement from Ford Sales and Service Korea, which misrepresents the features of one of its vehicles. (Fair Trade Commission)

Ford Sales and Service Korea received a correction order from the Fair Trade Commission for misrepresenting one of its vehicles as having a rear braking support system, the watchdog agency said Monday.

According to the FTC, the importer and seller of the US-based Ford advertised in 2019 that its sport utility vehicle the Ford Explorer Limited was equipped with a reverse braking system, which was not true.

In brochures and on its official website, the automaker had said the function helped the driver to reverse the car “more confidently” and could “prevent potential collisions.”

But the SUV did not have any such system that could automatically stop the vehicle in an emergency, the FTC said.

Customers filed complaints with the FTC, and in response Ford withdrew all its brochures with the problematic wording and erased all related advertising from its website.

“Advertising as if the car had the reverse braking support system is seen as a misleading and exaggerated claim. Such a claim over the reverse braking support system, which is an important factor to consider when purchasing a car, can disturb consumers’ rational decision-making processes,” the FTC said.

“So even though the advertisement is withdrawn, we are issuing a correction order to prevent a recurrence.”

It is not the first time a Ford distributor here has been disciplined over false advertising. In 2015 Sunin Motors was fined about 150 million won ($134,590) for falsely claiming the Ford Taurus had the Hill Start Assist function, which keeps the car from rolling downhill.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com
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