What is Illegal in this Volkswagen Ad?
What is illegal about this ad showing a Volkswagen Polo Blue Motion chained to a bike rack? Sorry, bicyclists. It's not the provocative suggestion that automobiles further invade bicycles' territory.
Volkswagen has launched an advertising campaign promoting the accessibility of innovative environmentally friendly technology in automobiles, in line with their reputation as the folks' wagon. And no one disputes that the Polo Blue Motion, with 62mpg (3.8L/100km) and less than 100 grams of CO2 per km is an example of affordable eco-technology. But the Association for Protection of the Environment and Nature of Germany (BUND) has challenged the Volkswagen Ads as illegal. So what is illegal about this Volkswagen ad? Or similar ads by BMW, Ford, Mercedes or Opel? All of these advertisments violate the EU law 1999/94/EC which requires that:
promotional material (advertisements in newspapers, posters, brochures) used in marketing new cars must contain fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data.
All this comes just as automakers fight proposals under German Chancellor Merkel's ambitious climate change strategy to limit CO2 output from autos to 120 grams/km by 2012. Which still does not explain why best-in-class autos like the Polo Blue Motion do not meet the requirement to publish emissions on ads--just when fuel efficiency finally interests customers. Volkswagen should set a better example. VW has the goods; they have struggled to achieve a breakthrough of record-breaking auto technology in the marketplace.
So message to VW, and by BMW, Ford, Mercedes, and Opel: It's the law, and consumers want to know. Make better cars, and then scream it from the rooftops. (But stay out of our bike parking zone!)
Volkswagen Environmental Leadership:
Five Thousand Euro Electric Car Catches VW's Attention
Volkswagen Announces Eco-strategy to Beat Toyota
Volkswagen to Make Limited Edition of 1-Liter Car (282 MPG!) in 2010
Volkswagen Golf Turbo-Diesel Hybrid Too Expensive for Production
Volkswagen Sharan BlueMotion 7-Seater Has Better Fuel Economy than Most Cars in the U.S.
Volkswagen's Polo Blue Motion: 62 MPG of Diesel-Sipping Fun
More on Auto Advertising in the EU:
BUND, Friends of the Earth Germany, Press Release (german)