TORONTO—The Made in the USA Foundation has filed complaints against two American automakers over advertising claims that imply their vehicles are made in the United States, even though they’re assembled in Canada.
The U.S. consumer group has filed two complaints with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission against Ford and Chrysler for misleading advertising.
The complaint targets a commercial for the Chrysler 300, which is assembled in Brampton, contains the tag line “Imported from Detroit.”
The Brampton plant also makes the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger.
The “Imported from Detroit” campaign was introduced in February during the Superbowl and features the music of Detroit-born rapper Eminem as a Chrysler car veers through the streets of Motown.
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“The ads are clever, but they are false,” says Joel Joseph, chairman of Made in the USA. “The Chrysler 300 is assembled in Brampton and often includes a Mexican-made engine. Last time I checked, Detroit is not in Canada. Chrysler is flat wrong to imply the Chrysler 300 is made in the United States and we have asked the FTC to order corrective advertising.”
The ads weren’t broadcast in Canada.
The complaint against Ford involves an ad claiming its Fusion model is American, even though it’s assembled in Mexico.
Ford has also said the group took issue with the Ford Edge, which is built in Oakville.
That facility also makes the Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX and MKT.
But Ford says the ad in question was produced by a dealer, whose ads are independently produced.
The complaints come amid a renewed promotion of American-made products as a sluggish U.S. economy and high unemployment have affected consumer confidence.
American automakers have also upped their claims of patriotism as competition from foreign companies for scarce consumer dollars increases.
Canadian manufacturers, already hit by a drop in demand from U.S. customers, are concerned about President Obama’s $447-billion U.S. stimulus package containing Buy American measures.
The group is also accusing the automakers of ripping the country-of-origin information from vehicles they present at auto shows.
Some 9,000 employees work at Chrysler plants in Toronto, Brampton and Windsor, home to the company’s largest assembly plant.
The company has been making investments in Ontario plants, the latest being over $1 billion in the Brampton plant.
The foundation dedicated to promoting American-made products was founded in 1989 and received initial funding by Ford itself.
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