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Freightliner told to change ad campaign

Posted: August 1, 2014

NEW YORK — Daimler Trucks North America has been asked to change part of an advertising campaign regarding one of their class 8 trucks by an advertising watchdog.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Daimler discontinue or modify certain advertising claims for the company’s Freightliner Cascadia trucks.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined Freightliner’s print and Internet advertising following a challenge by Navistar, maker of International ProStar

The main issue in the case is the accuracy of the advertiser’s superior fuel savings claims. The advertiser presented evidence based on proprietary aerodynamic testing that was used to estimate the fuel savings that customers can expect to achieve. The challenger’s rebuttal evidence consisted of the results of SAE Type III and Type IV testing, which it argued are industry standard tests to determine the fuel efficiency of trucks.

NAD found certain aspects of the advertiser’s test methodology did not fully reflect real world conditions which can impact on a truck’s actual fuel consumption and, by extension, fuel efficiency, given the quantified nature of the fuel saving claims.

NAD determined the advertiser did not provide a reasonable basis for the following claims and recommended they be discontinued:

– We have more than the most fuel efficient design. It’s official. Cascadia is the most aerodynamic truck on the planet. And a truck with less aerodynamic drag means better fuel efficiency and savings at the pump.

– Using Cascadia Trucks could save customers as much as $950 to $2,750 a year
per truck. — based on 7.8% less drag.

– Industry leading aerodynamics [with] advantages in ALL areas of this truck when compared to our competitors. Our aerodynamic superiority over every truck now in the market place is where you can show your customers the biggest cost savings of all.

– A table with Cascadia listed as the most fuel efficient, International ProStar as the second most fuel efficient at $948 more in fuel use, as well as Volvo, Kenworth and
Peterbilt in the third, fourth and fifth place.

As for the monadic claim: “We were able to fine-tune the truck’s design to maximize aerodynamics and fuel economy,” NAD determined that it was supported by evidence in the record.

With regard to the claims: “Auto Research Center (ARC), an independent company has reviewed and validated these results and ARC researchers compared the Cascadia with four other similarly spec’ed Class 8 vehicles,” NAD recommended the advertiser modify these claims to make clear that ARC did not verify the advertiser’s results but simply
independently concluded that Cascadia had the least amount of aerodynamic drag of the trucks tested.

In its advertiser’s statement, stated Daimler Trucks North America appreciates NAD’s careful consideration of this matter and while it believes NAD did not adequately understand the nature of certain technical information submitted with DTNA’s responses, it would nonetheless modify its advertising accordingly.

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