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Car makers 'break rules on eco claims'

28 June 2007

  • Lexus, Saab, Ford and Honda singled out
  • Voluntary advertising code 'needs enforcing'
  • Call for eco stats to cover 20% of an advert

car manufacturers' claims about their cars' impact on the environment sometimes break guidelines

Car manufacturers are breaking the rules when making claims about their products' eco-friendly credentials, industry chiefs were told.

Lexus, Saab, Ford and Honda adverts were all pin-pointed during a presentation at the Low-Carbon Vehicle Partnership annual conference in London.

Jos Dings, director for the European Federation for Transport and the Environment, said: 'The voluntary code to prevent manufacturers using terms such as green, environmentally friendly and sustainable in their advertising is often broken.'

A advert for the Lexus GS 450h, stated, 'Change the world, without changing the planet', and a Saab ad that boasted, 'Saab created BioPower technology for drivers who want it all: turbo-charged performance plus the satisfaction of helping the environment'.

Mr Dings said 'Car makers need to be specific about carbon dioxide emissions. You can't say a car is environmentally friendly - it is not if it emits carbon dioxide. Adverts must be specific about carbon dioxide emissions.

'The federation would like to see clearer adverts', he said, and added 'Figures for carbon dioxide emissions are often in the small print. We would like to see them take up 20% of the total advert. We would also like to see tougher enforcement of the voluntary code.'

Mike Longhurst, senior vice-president of advertising agency McCann-Erickson EMEA, wants the industry to continue to regulate itself. 'It's a lot better than an explosion in regulation,' he said.

Mr Longhurst added that he even intervened when he spotted a car advert with the words 'Eco-friendly means fun to drive'.

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