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ASA bans Citroen advert

Citroen has had its national press advert for the Citroen C5 VTX+ banned by the Advertising Standards Agency for being ‘misleading’.

The ASA received a complaint that the featured car was rated in band C of bands A-G of the Environmental Transport Association's ratings for carbon emissions. They challenged whether the claim ‘ultra low’ was misleading.

Citroen UK said the official Government CO2 emission figure was 142 g/km at the time the ad was placed and had since been confirmed at 139 g/km.

They said that the term ‘ultra-low’ was justified when comparing the C5 VTX+ with its major diesel competitors.

They stated that, with a diesel engine, the emissions were lower than petrol equivalents within its class. Citroen confirmed that the figure of 142 g/km (139) placed their car in band C (121 - 150 g/km) for graduated vehicle license duty which was below the norm for other cars in the same class.

They also pointed out that the figure placed the car in the lowest company car benefit in kind taxation band.

Citroen also maintained that it was advised by the Department for Transport that the C5 VTX+ 110hp was the lowest car for CO2 emissions in the large family car sector and would be used by DfT in a campaign encouraging new car buyers to purchase lower carbon cars.

The ASA acknowledged that the new C5 VTX+ had lower CO2 emissions than other cars with a similar performance. However, it considered that readers were likely to understand the claim ‘ultra low 142 CO2 g/km’ to mean the car had low emissions when compared to all cars.

The ASA decided the ad was misleading due to the comparison with vehicles delivering similar performance not being prominent. The Agency said the ad should not appear again in its current form.

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