Mercedes has discontinued a television ad for its new E-Class sedan. It comes after criticism from a number of consumer groups over a comparison the company made between its autonomous F 015 concept car and the advanced driver-assist systems in the E-Class.
The ad shows the F 015 and the Mercedes E-Class side-by-side and asks if the world is "truly ready for a car that can drive itself?" It goes on to say "the future is here... a Mercedes-Benz concept car that’s already a reality."
Though the new E-Class has many advanced driver-assist functions, it is far from an autonomous car. It can help the driver steer and maintain its space in the lane, but it requires the driver always keep their hands on the wheel.
The ad was removed from television rotation and from the carmaker’s YouTube page. It was originally reported by Automotive News. "It was not our intent to cause any confusion," said Mercedes spokesperson Donna Boland in a statement to The Verge.
The F 015 car is a concept that is meant to show what a riders could experience in a fully autonomous vehicle. "‘The Future,’ featuring the F015 concept car... is intended to draw the connection between that vision and the innovations that are in today’s Mercedes-Benz models," said Boland.
She said that the E-Class is a "significant step towards achieving our vision of an accident free future," but have taken the ad out of the campaign because "we do not want any potential confusion in the marketplace to detract from the giant step forward in vehicle safety" that Mercedes believes the E-Class represents.