Ford Accused Of Falsely Advertising The Bronco

Off-Road / 4 Comments

An advertising watchdog has ruled that Ford will need to make some changes to the Bronco's marketing.

Tesla has come under fire recently over claims that advertising for its Autopilot assist technology was misleading drivers into thinking the technology was fully autonomous, which led to a court order banning Tesla from advertising Autopilot in Germany. But Tesla isn't the only automaker being accused of false advertising. Before the Stellantis merger, FCA US accused Ford of falsely claiming certain aspects of the Bronco are "best-in-class" in press releases, media kits, and print advertising.

These claims were reviewed by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs. While the ruling supports Ford's best-in-class claims, the NAD has requested Ford to make some changes to its Bronco and Bronco Sport advertising to avoid confusing customers.

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FCA argued that Ford's "best-in-class" claims were misleading because they were made before the Bronco went on sale. However, the advertising watchdog concluded that it's acceptable for manufacturers to make best-in-class claims as part of a car's "reveal" as long as the claims are properly supported. The NDA concluded that Ford "provided a reasonable basis" for claims that the Bronco has the best-in-class maximum ground clearance, suspension travel, and water fording capability, as well as the largest available tires.

However, when reviewing the press release and media kit for the Bronco's reveal, the NDA found that Ford's "best-in-class" claims referred to the entire Bronco lineup, including the Bronco Sport. To avoid confusion, the advertising watchdog told Ford to make it clearer the "best-in-class" claims do not apply to the Bronco Sport.

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The NDA also evaluated Ford's use of the words "projected" and "available" when marketing the Bronco. While the NDA didn't find Ford's use of these terms misleading in most of its marketing, it found that using these two terms together in the same claim may cause confusion. As a result, Ford has been advised to clarify that horsepower and torque figures are "projected" pending SAE certification and achieved with certain "available" configurations.

Furthermore, the advertising watchdog ruled that Ford's claim the Bronco is "engineered . . . for . . . segment-leading . . . long term off-road performance and dependability" needs to be removed as it needs to be supported with competitor data or performance testing, which Ford did not provide. Ford says it will comply with the NDA's decision" and will modify its horsepower and torque claims to reflect the configuration and engine size.

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