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Product: Motor Vehicles
Advertiser: Land Rover
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 3.14, 3.24(a), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 15.1(b), 15.2, 15.3, 15.5, 15.6, 15.7, 15.8
A sponsored article featuring an Irish personality discussing changes they made during the pandemic, sustainability and their use of the Land Rover Defender. The article was headlined:
“How [name redacted] is planting the seeds of a more sustainable lifestyle.
The nation’s favourite [redacted] is making changes to live a more eco-conscious life, including embracing mild hybrid technology in his Land Rover Defender Hard Top.”
The article included the following statements:
“As [name redacted] moves back to pre-pandemic life, he’s keeping some of the permanent changes to the way he lives, including making a move to a Land Rover Defender Hard Top, which fits in with his sustainability goals as it has mild hybrid technology. MHEV technology harvests and stores energy normally lost when the car decelerates and intelligently redeploys it to increase the engine’s efficiency. This system helps to boost fuel economy and also boost’s performance.”
“Ever-conscious of bridging the gap into a more sustainable vehicle, it’s the mild hybrid technology that makes it the ideal choice for him.”
“The mild hybrid tech cuts down on the amount of fuel I use. I use it as a staging post on the way to going full electric, which is the future goal.”
“Sparkling change with Land Rover
Sparkling change is a four-part series featuring Land Rover brand ambassadors as they talk about the small switches they’re making on their sustainability journeys – including the car they are driving.”
The article featured various images and a video of the vehicle parked in various places.
Twenty-Eight complaints were received regarding the advertising. The complainants raised the following issues.
Complainants objected to the advertising on the grounds that the vehicle was shown parked illegally on footpaths and on a double yellow line.
Several complainants objected to the advertising on the grounds that they considered it as ‘greenwashing’. The complainants noted that the car had an internal combustion engine that burned fossil fuels, which they considered was working against the environment. One complainant considered that the indication that consumers should buy a large SUV to help the planet was misleading. Some complainants noted that the car had a 3-litre engine which emitted particulate matter and therefore was a source of pollution.
Some complainants did not consider that the sustainability claim could be made when you took the car’s manufacture and operation into consideration.
A complainant objected to the sustainability claims on the grounds that no evidence had been provided within the advertising for the claim. The complainant said that the claim could not be implied unless the person featured was making a change from a more unsustainable mode of transport and no details on a previous mode of transport had been included in the advertisement.
Some complainants considered that the term mild hybrid was misleading as the vehicle was propelled by an internal combustion engine and said that a mild hybrid vehicle did not work in the same way that consumers understood a hybrid vehicle did.
One complainant objected to the sustainability claim as they had viewed information in the manufacturer’s brochure which stated that the Land Rover Defender diesel 110 MHEV had CO2 emissions of 230 to 250mg/km which they said was higher than several other high end diesel engine SUV’s.
The advertisers said that they take all complaints seriously. The responded to the various issues raised.
The advertisers stated that all of the complaints related to parking outside the featured person’s own shop or home. They said that the images showed him unloading his vehicle and that the site outside his own premises was a designed loading site where room had been left for pedestrian access alongside the vehicle. They said that the space was used by the shop team on a day-to-day basis when loading and unloading was needed. They provided a comment from the personality featured who stated that all shops on their road had goods delivered in the same way, however, their shop had the advantage of a double width path, therefore, it was possible to park without inconveniencing any passers-by. They said that the area was designed for vehicular access as the site used to be a car dealership. They said that the vehicle was completely off the road and that there was 2-meter-wide pathway free for pedestrians.
The advertisers said that on the day of filming, the production staff had ensured that pedestrians and road users were aware of filming.
In regard to the image of the vehicle parked on double yellow lines, they said that once this had been raised, they had removed the advertising.
The advertisers stated that mild hybrid electric vehicles delivered lower Co2 emissions and enhanced fuel economy. In the case of their vehicle, the Defender, they said that mild hybrid technology delivered a saving of 6g/km of Co2 and that the Defender’s RDE2 -certified and Euro 6d-Final compliant six-cylinder engines met the most stringent global emissions standards and featured state-of-the-art Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology to enhance refinement, efficiency and responses. They said that they had an always-on, intelligent 48-volt mild hybrid (MHEV) system which combined an efficient petrol or diesel engine with a powerful underfloor battery so the engine could be turned off when coasting, braking or stationary and energy that would normally be lost when slowing down was collected and stored to be internally reused as power. In combination with MHEV technology and the superior refinement of the in-line six-cylinder engine, the diesel Defenders were more economical, more responsive and more refined than the engines they supersede.
They said that the car had a six-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel versions which featured both a conventional twin-scroll turbocharger and an advanced 48-volt electric supercharger, with a belt-integrated starter motor in place of the alternator to assist the engine, and a 48-volt lithium-ion battery to store energy captured as the vehicle slows down. They said that in combination, these advanced technologies provided fuel consumption as low as 9.6l/100km with CO2 emissions of 207g/km.
The advertisers did not address the complaints regarding the manufacturing process of the car.
The advertisers stated that the vehicle featured, had mild hybrid technology which delivered a saving of 6g/km of Co2 and that the Defender’s RDE2 -certified and Euro 6d-Final compliant six-cylinder engines met the most stringent global emissions standards and featured state-of-the-art Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology to enhance refinement, efficiency and responses. They also said that the vehicle had an always-on, intelligent 48-volt mild hybrid (MHEV) system that combined an efficient petrol or diesel engine with a powerful underfloor battery so the engine can be turned off when coasting, braking or stationary. Energy that would normally be lost when slowing down was collected and stored to be internally reused as power. In combination with MHEV technology and the superior refinement of the in-line six-cylinder engine, the diesel Defenders are more economical, more responsive and more refined than the engines they supersede.
The advertisers stated that the vehicle had an intelligent 48-volt mild hybrid (MHEV) system which combined an efficient petrol or diesel engine with a powerful underfloor battery so the engine could be turned off when coasting, braking or stationary. They said that energy that would normally be lost when slowing down was collected and stored to be internally reused as power. The advertisers also provided information on how a mild hybrid vehicle works which stated that when a driver lifts their foot off the accelerator, the belt-integrated starter generator (BiSG) harvests energy on coast down by running a negative torque to the engine. When the driver presses the brake pedal, once the vehicle drops below 3km/h, the engine stops on the move, however, the driver maintains all key functions. When the vehicle is stopped, the engine remains shut off until the driver lifts their foot off the brake pedal. When the driver presses the accelerator, up to 142.5Nm of torque is applied by the BiSG to restart the engine and assist reducing engine load and fuel consumption. The benefits of mild hybrid electric vehicle listed were 6g/km of co2 saving, engine shut off at speeds below 3km/h and finally up to 142.5Nm of torque.
The advertisers did not comment on the quoted CO2 emissions referred to by the complainant.
The advertisers referred to the mild hybrid technology of the cars and stated that in combination with mild hybrid electric vehicle technology and the superior refinement of the in-line six-cylinder engine, both petrol and diesel Defenders were more economical, more responsive and more refined than the engines they superseded. They also said that in combination, these advanced technologies provided fuel consumption as low as 9.6l/100km with CO2 emissions of 207g/km.
1. Real Driving Emissions 2 – https://heycar.co.uk/guides/what-is-rde2
The Executive sourced the Parking Section of the Rules of the Road which outlined the rules for parking - rotr-2022.pdf (rsa.ie) - which stated “No parking Even if you do not see a particular ‘no parking’ sign or yellow line on the road, you must not stop or park: … wholly or partly on a footpath, a grass margin, a cycle lane or track or a median strip; …”
The Executive also sourced a copy of a Press Release from the Department of Transport which outlined the increase in parking fines for parking on a footpath, a cycle lane or on a bus lane (gov.ie - Ministers Ryan and Naughton announce increased penalties for motorists who park on footpaths, cycle tracks and bus lanes. gov.ie - Ministers Ryan and Naughton announce increased penalties for motorists who park on footpaths, cycle tracks and bus lanes (www.gov.ie)
The Executive sourced information on mild hybrid technology online: - https://www.whatcar.com/advice/buying/what-is-a-mild-hybrid-and-should-you-buy-one/n22776
The above article provided information on what a mild hybrid vehicle was and included the following information:
“What is a mild hybrid system?
It's an affordable, fairly simple bunch of components that reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of petrol and diesel-engined cars. It generally consists of a small electric generator that replaces the traditional starter motor and alternator (the device that keeps the 12-volt battery charged), plus a small lithium ion battery.”
“How do mild hybrids work?
As the name suggests, a mild hybrid offers only a small amount of electrical assistance to the engine – not enough for the car to run on electric power alone. The systems work in slightly different ways from brand to brand, but in general they tend to use power from the generator to assist the engine under hard acceleration and help it restart more smoothly and seamlessly after it’s switched off when the car is stationary.
They also harvest energy when the brakes are applied, capturing it in the battery to provide extra assistance. On average, a car with mild hybrid technology is said to be up to 15% more efficient than its conventional counterpart.”
“How green are mild hybrids?
The downside of mild hybrids is that they aren’t as environmentally friendly as many full hybrids and plug-in hybrids and don’t benefit from the lowest rates of company car tax.”
The above article included the following information:
Mild hybrids, sometimes abbreviated to MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle), come in many forms. As the name suggests, these have a modest amount of electrical assistance for a petrol or diesel engine, but not enough to drive the car. They can be manual or automatic, too.
Generally, a single electric motor/generator replaces the alternator and starter motor in a mild hybrid, and this can provide a little boost to the engine when needed.
Alternatively, the mild-hybrid motor can power the auxiliary systems (such as the power steering and air conditioning) to allow for longer periods where the engine is automatically switched off – e.g. coming to a stop or coasting at higher speeds.
These systems usually use a 48-volt battery.”
“Mild-hybrid technology does enhance overall efficiency without the owner of the car having to change anything about the way they drive or fuel up, but it generally makes for small improvements.”
The Executive reviewed the technical specifications for the Defender 110 from the manufacturer’s brochure referred to by the complainants.
The WLTP CO2 emissions quoted for each diesel MHEV model are as follows:
D200 seats 5/5+2 - WLTP CO2 combined 230-249g/km / 232-250g/km
D250 seats 5/5+2 – WLTP CO2 combined 230-249g/km / 232-250g/km
D300 seats 5/5+2 – WLTP CO2 combined 230-249g/km / 232-250g/km
D250 seats 2/3 - WLTP CO2 combined 251g/km
D300 seats 2/3 - WLTP CO2 combined 251g/km
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 - Upheld:
The Committee noted that the vehicle had been shown parked on both a footpath and on a double yellow line and on reviewing the parking section of the Rules of the Road, noted that parking on footpaths and on double yellow lines was prohibited. The Committee also noted the existence of a fixed charge penalty notice for parking on footpaths. While the Committee acknowledged that the image of the vehicle parked on the double yellow lines had been withdrawn, taking account of the requirements set out in the Rules of the Road, the Committee considered that the portrayal of vehicles parked on the footpath and on double yellow lines, was in breach of Section 3.3 of the Code.
Issue 2 - Upheld:
The Committee noted that the collective complaints predominantly concerned a suggestion of greenwashing related to the advertised product engine type, its overall size and emissions. They noted the response outlining the technology involved in the vehicle and that it was more economical than the engines it superseded.
The Committee also noted that the advertising has used qualified sustainability phrases such as “planting the seeds of a more sustainable life”, “sustainability goals”, “bridging the gap to a more sustainable vehicle”, “staging post on the way to going full electric” and “small switches they’re making on their sustainability journeys”.
However, evidence demonstrating that the vehicle justified being associated with sustainability claims, albeit qualified, had not been submitted. In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
Issue 3 – Not Upheld:
The Complaints Committee noted that no commentary had been received in relation to the manufacturing process of the car. They also noted that evidence demonstrating that the vehicle justified being associated with sustainability claims had not been submitted. The Committee considered the Code requirement that environmental claims should be based on the full lifecycle of the advertised product, unless the marketing communication states otherwise. However, they considered that the focus of this advertising was limited to the effect of the driving experience rather than the lifecycle of the vehicle. When considered in context and as a whole, the Committee did not consider that the advertising was misleading on the basis suggested in Issue 3.
Issue 4 - Upheld:
The Complaints Committee noted that the ad claim included a direct quotation “The mild hybrid tech cuts down on the amount of fuel I use.” The Committee noted that no comparison with any other mode of transport had been included in the advertisement. They noted that the Code required that a marketing communication should not mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise (4.1) and the credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of consumers should not be exploited (4.2) and the basis of any claim should be explained clearly and should be qualified where necessary. Unqualified claims may mislead if they omit significant information (15.5).
In the absence of comparative substantiation, the Committee considered that the advertisement constituted a breach of the Code under section 4.1.
Issue 5 – Not Upheld:
The Committee noted that the advertising had stated that the car had mild hybrid technology. The Committee noted the information sourced by the Executive in regard to mild hybrid electric vehicles, particularly that while they generated power, it was not enough to drive the car. The Committee also noted that the advertising had included information on the capabilities of mild hybrid electric vehicle technology, including that it “harvests and stores energy normally lost when the car decelerates” and had not stated in the advertising that the car could be driven in electric mode. The Committee considered that the qualification of hybrid being prefaced by ‘mild’ was indicative for consumers of a differentiation between it and an understanding of a standard hybrid vehicle.
In the circumstances the Committee did not consider that the advertising was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised at Issue 5.
Issue 6 – Not Upheld:
The Committee, taking account of the complaint that CO2 emissions were higher than several other high end diesel engine SUV’s, noted that the campaign referenced features of the advertised product rather than being a comparative claim against other vehicles in its class. In the circumstances the Committee did not consider that the advertising was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised at Issue 6.
The advertising should not be used again in its current format.