Dealers have been urged to ensure adverts for specific vehicles at particular dealerships are accurate to avoid censure by the advertising watchdog.
It follows publication this morning of a judgement against the Arnold Clark dealer group that one of its advertisements was likely to mislead.
The Advertising Standards Authority has reminded dealers that they should be able to prove the availability of illustrated vehicles at the time an advert appears.
An advert for Arnold Clark Motorstore in Inverness depicted a Mazda3 1.6 TS2 and 2.0 Sport, with text stating specification details and price from £7,495.
A complaint was lodged after a consumer visited the dealership and found no such models available. He argued that the advertisement was merely an inducement to visit the outlet, where consumers were offered alternatives.
Group stock not sufficient
Arnold Clark said it had 16 Motorstores and held group stock which was shared throughout the dealerships. Although the particular car may not have been at the Inverness site, a sales executive should have arranged to bring it across to that dealership, said the dealer group.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that because the advert related specifically to the Inverness dealership, not having the vehicle advertised in stock was likely to mislead as the advert had not stated the vehicle was not available for immediate purchase from the outlet.
It told Arnold Clark to avoid the implication that vehicles were available for immediate purchase if that was not the case.