Car Buyers misled by 'green' Lexus adverts

  • Green claims were overstated
  • Third 'green' Lexus advert to be pulled since May 2007
  • Ad stated RX model was 'better for the environment'

Lexus has been forced to withdraw an advert with misleading environmental claims for the third time since May 2007.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) upheld a complaint regarding an advert (pictured) that appeared on posters and in the national press with the headline: "PUT YOUR CARBON FOOT DOWN". In its adjudication , the ASA said: "The [advert] stated the RX400h was 'better for the environment', but did not state which cars it was better than. We therefore considered most consumers would understand the play on 'carbon footprint', which was a measure of human impact on the environment, in conjunction with the text "a car that's better for the environment" to suggest the car had low emissions in comparison with all cars. Because it did not and because the basis of the comparison was not stated, we concluded ad (b) was misleading."

In a May 2007 adjudication, a complaint was upheld against an advert with the line "LOW EMISSIONS" and "ZERO GUILT", while, in late September 2008, the company was told not to "imply in future that a vehicle caused little or no harm to the environment and had low CO2 emissions in comparison with all vehicles if that was not the case." following a national press campaign that ran with the headline "THE RX 400h. PERFECT FOR TODAY'S CLIMATE. (AND TOMORROW'S)".

Lexus is not the only car manufacturer to be forced by the ASA to withdraw adverts in the in the past year. Daihatsu, Citroen and Mitsubishi have all been told not to repeat adverts that make unsubstantiated environmental claims.