Ford importer fined for false claims

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Ford importer fined for false claims

The nation’s fair trade watchdog slapped Sunin Motors, a local importer of Ford and Lincoln cars, with a penalty worth 149 million won ($135,000) for advertising nonexistent features on its Ford Taurus models.

According to the Korea Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday, Sunin Motors advertised that all the 2014 models of the Taurus it carries - 2.0 SEL, 2.0 LTD, 3.5 SEL, 3.5 LTD and SHO - had the hill start assist (HSA) function, which prevents a vehicle from slipping backwards when starting on a gradient of 3 percent of higher.

The 2014 Taurus models retailed in the United States have the function, but the five models in Korea did not.

Between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2014, the company posted charts online and in its brochures that said the models’ safety features included an anti-lock breaking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESP) and the HSA function.

The models included ABS and ESP, but not the HSA feature.

“Regular consumers may misunderstand the advertisement as if the actual feature is installed,” wrote the FTC statement.

“This makes it difficult for consumers to make an informed product selection.”

The FTC also ordered Sunin Motors to prepare a more detailed product specification sheet from now on.

ABS helps stop a vehicle from skidding if the brakes are suddenly applied. The function locks and unlocks the wheels seven to eight times per second, rather than locking the wheels entirely, which allows the vehicle to come to a controlled stop more easily.

ESP prevents a vehicle from skidding by detecting any loss of traction and automatically applying the brakes to help the driver steer.


BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]

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