AM Online

Misleading green car ads keep on coming

Another week and another car manufacturer has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for matters relating to environmental friendliness.

This time, Fiat has been slapped on the hand for picturing four cars in a press advert which were not the eco-friendly version of the models that the text alongside the cars suggested.

Only in March this year, Renault was told off for a Twingo Dynamique ad which was said to have exaggerated the green credentials of the car. After its strapline, “CO2 emissions 135g/km”, it stated “eco2”.

But the French carmaker said the Eco2 logos were not used on all its adverts and cars had to meet certain criteria for this to be the case.

Renault was told not to repeat the ecological logo until it was clearly qualified to explain the scheme.

And in October last year, Citroen claimed its C4 was the lowest in its class for CO2 emissions. But hey ho, no, not true. According to the Department for Transport website at the time, Toyota Prius was ranked first and C4 was fifth.

Citroen of course had a response. It said it had based its claim about emissions on small family cars that had automatic gearboxes and diesel engines only. But ASA were having none of it.

It’s hard to tell whether manufacturers are blatantly flouting the truth for their own benefit. They all know, as do we, that a car’s green credentials are the thing of the moment and of the considerable future.

If I were a car manufacturer, I would probably want to put the most appealing version of a model on an advert, like Fiat, even if it didn’t match the eco-version that was in the text. However, to seriously twist facts is much more convoluted and dishonest.

Let’s remember, complaints against these manufacturers are not en masse. They amount to a few people at most, quite possibly with too much spare time on their hands, pointing out, sometimes minor errors on a car advert.

But carmakers should take stock – publicity as a result of ASA complaints is not good publicity. And when the big bad money-grabbing manufacturers appear to be lying to the general public, it certainly doesn’t do much for their image.


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