South Korea Penalizes Toyota for Misleading Ads

South Korean authorities have slapped Toyota with an 817 million won ($728,000) fine for deceptively advertising the safety rating of its sport utility vehicle.

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According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), Toyota Motor Korea in its catalog touted the RAV4’s top safety rating from an American nonprofit group, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, even though the 2015 and 2016 models sold there did not include a shock absorber bracket offered in U.S. versions.

FTC describes violation of the law as:

Toyota Motor Korea’s deceptive advertising prevented consumers from making fully informed decisions.

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The catalog did warn that specifications of the actual vehicles might differ. But the FTC concluded that the disclaimer, in fine print, was insufficient and not immediately understandable to consumers.

The preliminary fine could be revised in light of such factors as earnings. Toyota denies intentionally concealing differences between vehicles and says the Korean unit will weigh its options after reviewing the decision.

Related: Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and Nissan Ads Banned by UK Watchdog

Automobiles, as well as the way they are advertised matters a lot in developed countries. Recently advertisements for cars produced by Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and Nissan were also banned in UK due to misleading and irresponsible messages.

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