Ford wins advertising judgement on 'zero emissions driving' claim

Wed 28 February 2024 View all news

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has not upheld a complaint against Ford for using the term "zero emission driving" in its advertising of the fully electric Explorer model. The ruling follows earlier decisions by the Authority which upheld complaints against BMW and MG for using the term "zero emissions vehicles".

The Ford advert featured the claim “zero-emissions driving" in relation to the Ford Explorer. The company explained that the advertisement specifically stated “driving” and that there was a clear distinction between its claim of “zero emissions driving” and an absolute claim such as a “zero emissions vehicle”.

Ford said that the second statement could be interpreted as an absolute claim encompassing the life cycle of the vehicle (including production, driving, charging and maintenance).

Earlier advertisements from BMW and MG had made reference to the term "zero emissions vehicles (or cars)" which resulted in the ASA upholding complaints that the advertisements did not reflect the full life-cycle impacts of the vehicles, including those associated with production and disposal.

The ASA said, however, that an advertisement featuring a “zero emissions” claim, that did not make explicitly clear that it related to the reaction of the vehicle while it was being driven, was likely to mislead and, used in isolation, was ambiguous and might be interpreted as an absolute claim.

To make its adverts even more clear, Ford said it would in future amend the claim to “zero emissions while driving”.

Zemo Partnership (formerly as LowCVP) has been prominent in calls that the policy and regulatory environment should properly reflect the full life-cycle impacts of vehicles of whatever fuel type. Zemo's most recent contribution to this discussion was the publication of a report into vehicle life cycle GHG emissions in the context of renewable fuels. 

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