Mercedes-Benz has admitted their cars are fitted with a secret sensor that can pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle across the United States at the flip of a switch.
All new and used vehicles sold by Mercedes-Benz dealers in the U.S. are fitted with the location sensor technology.
Despite the company insisting it does not use tracking devices in its cars, they admitted they can track a vehicle’s location due to the sensors.
Mercedes said the sensors are only activated in ‘extreme circumstances’.
Mercedes-Benz has admitted that their cars are fitted with a secret sensor that can pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle across the United States at the flip of a switch
The car manufacturer said the sensors are not used to permanently track customers or access real-time data.
They would not confirm how long they have been using the sensors for.
Mercedes said the location sensors can be activated to locate a car in case of an emergency.
They can also be activated to track down a car finance customer in case they default on their payments.
In the case of tracking down a customer who has defaulted, Mercedes can share information about car owners and their locations with third-party bailiffs and recovery firms so they can repossess the vehicles.
A clause about the activation of location sensors is said to be included in the terms and conditions the customer signs in their agreement.
‘We place great importance on the responsible and transparent use of customer data. The customer determines which services he wants to use and which data he wants to pass on – either by consent, by contract or at the push of a button,’ a spokesperson for the company told DailyMail.com.
‘We also inform our customers about the so-called repossession process when they apply for finance through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
Mercedes said the location sensors can be activated to track down a car finance customer in case they default on their payments. Mercedes can share information about car owners and their locations with third-party bailiffs and recovery firms so they can repossess the vehicles
‘In this case, they sign a contract and agree to the use of the car’s location in the event they default or breach their finance agreement.
‘This repossession process is used in a few exceptional cases and only as a last resort, when customers default or breach their finance agreement and repeatedly fail requests to return their vehicle.
‘We also want to emphasize that this does not mean constant tracking.’
Other car manufacturers, including Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen, all said they do not carry out similar tracking.
‘As a rule, Mercedes-Benz does not track drivers,’ the Mercedes spokesperson added.
‘Connectivity services are an essential element of modern cars. They increase safety and comfort.
‘Location based services are part of that connectivity for example to provide traffic services or locating a car in case of an emergency.’
It follows revelations that the European Union has controversial plans to fit all new cars with the sensor devices to track down drivers who are speeding, driving irresponsibly or who have fallen behind on their finance payments.
From 2022, the EU wants all cars made inside the Union to feature the location-tracking devices.
The EU’s new data protection laws make tracking a car without its driver’s knowledge illegal.