Promoting watchdog ASA has taken Renault UK to task over misleading environmental claims.
It said that a paid-for meta ad for Renault seen on 1 May contained a picture of the Renault Austral automobile with the text “Rethink hybrid we did. As much as 80% electric driving in the town. All latest Renault Austral E-Tech full hybrid. WLTP test data. Actual real world driving results may vary”.
Renault explained that the headline claim was based on an internal test accomplished by Renault’s engineering team which aimed to copy the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) testing.
WLTP testing is the worldwide standard for determining the degrees of pollutants, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of traditional and hybrid cars, in addition to determining the mileage range for fully electric cars.
Renault said it had repeated the test 4 times in 23°C external temperature on road conditions. Within the 4 iterations of the test, the engine driving ranged between 8% and 22%, and pure EV driving ranged between 78% and 92%.
In its defence, Renault UK explained that it had a rigorous approval process whereby ads were reviewed by quite a few departments, including the legal department, before they were published. Nevertheless, it said that this ad had been posted in error and admitted that the qualifying text which stated “WLTP test data. Actual real world driving results may vary”, must have stated “Actual real world driving results may vary. Internal Renault source 2022”.
ASA said the CAP Code stated that before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that buyers are more likely to regard as objective and which can be capable being substantiated. It also stated that ads must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or premature manner and that the idea of environmental claims have to be clear.
The ASA said that in using specific reference to “WLTP test data” consumers can be more likely to understand that the testing had been carried out by an independent body, which was not the case.
The ASA added that the ad was also misleading because the idea of the claim “As much as 80% electric driving in the town” was unclear.
“Regardless of the qualifying text error, the ad was headlined “Rethink hybrid we did. As much as 80% electric driving in the town’,” it added. “Nevertheless, aside from to know the claim was based on test data, it was unclear on what the 80% was based. For instance, there have been quite a few possible interpretations of the claim, including that it reflected the proportion of a person journey, no matter distance, that the vehicle was capable of cover without having recourse to using petrol or diesel. One other possible interpretation of the claim was that as much as 80% of the full variety of journeys was covered by the electrical source, even when some individual journeys used greater than 20% petrol or diesel.”
ASA told Renault UK to make sure that ads included all material information needed for consumers to know their message and reminded them that the idea of environmental claims have to be clear.
This Article First Appeared At www.am-online.com