Mercedes-Benz Japan Ordered to Pay Over ¥1.2 Billion for Misleading Representation for SUVs

REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
The logo of Mercedes-Benz is seen outside a Mercedes-Benz car dealer in Brussels, Belgium June 1, 2023.

The Consumer Affairs Agency on Tuesday ordered Mercedes-Benz Japan Co. in Chiba to pay more than ¥1.2 billion in administrative monetary penalty (AMP) for violating the law against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representations by displaying factually inaccurate information on standard car equipment in its catalogues.

The Japanese arm of major German carmaker Mercedes-Benz AG was imposed to pay the largest sum of AMP based on the law since the agency introduced the penalty in April 2016.

According to an announcement by the agency, the company stated in its catalogues and on its website from June 2020 to August 2021 that a self-driving, automated lane keeping system that works when the driver holds the wheel, is a standard feature for three sport utility vehicle models of their GLA and GLB series. However, the function turned out to be an optional feature installed separately.

In principle, the AMP amount based on the law is 3% of sales made during the period the violation took place. This time, the amount of the penalty at about ¥1.231 billion was calculated based on the sales figure of ¥40 billion until January 2022 with an assumption that the misleading representation still had effect by that time.

“We have received the order with gravity and will make an utmost effort to thoroughly comply with laws and regulations,” the company said in a statement.

The previous largest AMP was ¥674.4 million imposed in April last year on Taiko Pharmaceutical Co. in Osaka for misleading representation regarding disinfectant product Cleverin.