Advertising has its own rules of origin.
One of them is, you don't get to advertise a vehicle as being "Built in the USA" if it usually isn't, or mostly isn't.
And so Mercedes-Benz has agreed to modify an advertising campaign for its 2019 Sprinter van, following a complaint from the nonprofit watchdog group Truthinadvertising.org.
In a March 22 letter to Mercedes-Benz, the group said the ads claim the 2019 Sprinter is built at Mercedes' new North Charleston, S.C., van plant, even though its investigation using VIN data found that 90 percent of a 2,390 sampling of 2019 Sprinter vans offered for sale online by U.S. dealerships are imported from Germany. The other 10 percent had the "T" plant code as the 11th character in the VIN, indicating they were made at the U.S. plant, the group said.
Further, it said, the 2019 Sprinters that are assembled at the South Carolina plant contain significant non-U.S. components, meaning they don't measure up to the Federal Trade Commission's standard for a "Made in the U.S." marketing claim.
Mercedes-Benz USA said in a statement to the group that it is has addressed the concerns by changing some of its marketing materials.
"As always, MBUSA desires to accurately describe its products and technology to its valued customers," the statement said.