Ford escapes sanctions for 'zero emission' electric car claims despite MG and BMW being called 'misleading'

Ford escapes sanctions for 'zero emission' electric car claims despite MG and BMW being called 'misleading'

WATCH: Experts react to the new electric vehicle mandate

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 21/02/2024

- 15:15

Updated: 05/03/2024

- 16:34

The advertising watchdog said carmakers could not describe electric vehicles as being 'zero emission'

The UK’s advertising watchdog has agreed to drop its investigation into Ford after the carmaker made claims of “zero emission driving” in a recent Google advert.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the claims, made in a paid advert for the brand’s Explorer SUV model, were unlikely to mislead the public.

The ruling comes a few weeks after the watchdog told carmakers they could not describe electric vehicles as being “zero emissions”.

Car brands MG and BMW were recently penalised for the misleading EV claims made in their adverts, but Ford has narrowly escaped following an investigation by ASA.

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Ford avoids ASA fines

The ASA said the ad was 'unlikely to mislead'


The advert was flagged by ASA’s active advert monitoring system, which uses artificial intelligence to actively search for online adverts that might break the rules.

A spokesperson for the ASA said: “Unlike our previous BMW and MG ads, we found that this ad for an electric SUV didn’t break our rules.

“We determined that because the claim was put next to context around specific features of the car.

“Consumers wouldn’t understand the ‘zero emissions’ element to refer to the whole life cycle of the vehicle, but instead specifically the driving.”

The Ford promo was published on August 16 and stated: “New All-Electric Explorer – Redefining Adventure.

“The ultimate all-electric SUV is here. The Explorer. Redefine the meaning of adventure. The ultimate exploration vehicle – Find out more and discover the range of features. Zero-emissions driving. Fast charging. Driver Assistance Tech.”

However, the ASA ultimately ruled that the additional context around the zero emissions claim meant that the promotion was unlikely to mislead and separate it from the cases of both MG and BMW.

Ford pushed back against the investigation but agreed to amend its claim to “zero-emissions while driving” slogan to make it clearer in future adverts.

In its ruling, which decided that no action was necessary, the watchdog explained that while the advert included the claim “zero-emissions driving” it noted that it was immediately followed by references to fast charging and driver assistance tech.

The ASA added: “This further text placed the claim in the context of some of the specific features of the car, which included its emissions while being driven, its charging capability and technical function.

“The claim was unlikely, therefore, in that specific context to be understood as a comment on the vehicle’s overall life-cycle (manufacture, use and disposal) emissions.

“We concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.”


Ford office

Ford agreed to amend its claim to 'zero-emissions while driving'


GB News has contacted Ford for a comment.

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