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Report: AC Delco Parts Labeled “Made In USA” Came From China

Uh oh! A customer who bought an AC Delco oil filter saw the “Made in USA” sticker on the package. Then, he noticed the “Made in China” in the fine print. From there this has spiraled into a class-action lawsuit over false claims in advertising and packaging by AC Delco and General Motors

Consumers pay premium prices for auto parts made in the USA

AC Delco Made in USA label
AC Delco Made in USA | GM

The lawsuit spells out that consumers pay premium prices for auto parts made in the USA. But according to the lawsuit those parts are made in China. “All persons who purchased in the United States an AC Delco product in packaging displaying “Made in USA” for end-users and not for resale, where all significant parts and processing that go into the product are not of U.S. origin.”

The plaintiff says in the lawsuit he purchased an AC Delco automatic transmission filter last October. The packaging had the “Made in USA” logo on it. He states this was the deciding factor in him making the purchase over other similar products. The plaintiff was “outraged” after seeing the part was stamped “Made in China.”

According to the lawsuit no other parts of the filter had any country of origin identification. “Even if the “Made in China” inscription on the surface of Plaintiff’s transmission filter applied only to the single plastic housing piece that bears the inscription, the “Made in USA” claim still fails the “All or Virtually All” standard and is unlawful, deceptive, and misleading,” the lawsuit says.

The AC Delco Made in USA claim goes against the “All or Virtually All” standard

Buick car parts on display during the “Auto China” Beijing International Automotive Exhibition | Getty

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The suit argues that the Made in USA claim goes against the “All or Virtually All” US Federal Trade Commission standard. Back in 1995, the FTC looked into consumer’s buying habits related to the USA origin of manufacture. Consumers expect both the parts and assembly of a component to have been made in the USA to warrant the Made in USA claim according to the standard. 

In 1997 the FTC established the All or Virtually All standard. It states that “all significant parts and processing that go into the product are of U.S. origin, i.e., where there is only a de minimis, or a negligible amount of foreign content.” Typically Made in the USA products are more expensive than foreign-made parts. So consumer’s expectation is that the USA part is a better part and they are willing to pay for that premium. 

In short, the lawsuit alleges that the Made in USA claim is unlawful, deceptive, and it violates warranty claims. The lawsuit is filed against General Motors which owns AC Delco. The Norman Husar, Vs. General Motors LLC class action lawsuit is filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.