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Car confidential: Eco-hype is just marketing drivel

So Citroen is the latest manufacturer to launch a new eco badge to adorn its cleanest models.

It’s called Airdream – and these eco-heroes will sell alongside the likes of Econetic (Ford), Eco2 (Renault), Bluemotion (VW) and Ecomotive (Seat).

I could go on. Hardly a month goes by when car manufacturers don’t add a new green label.

Problem is, I’m left cold by these increasingly misleading eco badges.

They’re marketing drivel at its most opaque.

In the rush to look serious about the environmental crisis gripping the industry, carmakers are rushing headlong to turn everyday family models into sub-120g/km saviours.

Which is great news. I don’t want to pay astronomical fuel (or tax) bills any more than the next motorist.

It’s the marketing strategy with which I disagree.

Take Ford’s Mondeo Econetic model, with its headline-grabbing figures – 53.3mpg and 139g/km is impressive stuff for a 4.8m-long family car weighing a tonne and a half.

My beef – and you can level this criticism at any EcoBlueGreen special – is that it’s a sop to the eco debate.

Why not fit the skinny tyres, the remapped engine management and aero changes to every Mondeo?

The Econetic is one of 102 different Mondeo models on sale – so the green one will doubtless have a sales impact just about visible from the Hubble telescope.

The green Mondeo has a £250 premium, as do most of its cleaner-than-thou rivals.

Surprise, surprise – the industry is milking the environmental question for all its worth.

BMW and Mini are two manufacturers taking the more pragmatic strategy of launching fuel-sipping technology across their ranges, not just on one or two saintly models. Good on them.

Forget the confusing nomenclature popping up in showrooms across the land.

What we need is simple, no-nonsense labels so motorists know what’s what.

As it is, I can’t see the wood for all the tree-hugging going on.

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