Mercedes guilty of exaggerating emissions of new cars

The German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz misled the public by claiming low emissions for a range of executive cars that are among the most polluting on the road, according to the Advertising Standards Authority today.

"Its a pleasure, but not a guilty one,” the automaker said in a magazine advert for the E-Class Saloon range priced between £26,000 and £47,000, adding that its emissions were “down to” 139grams of Co2 per kilometre

Following a complaint the ASA investigated and found that only two out of a possible 24 E-Class cars corresponded with the emissions figures, warranting an E band in the Government’s banding system which ranges from A to M.

Some were in the M band, the highest set by the Department for Transport to warn drivers about high levels of fuel consumption, taxation and pollution.

The case is the latest example of ‘greenwashing’, where companies have been found to have made spurious environmental claims. During the past two years, the ASA has banned ads from Shell for promoting its heavily-polluting extraction of oil from tar sands in Canada, British Gas for misleading businesses about its emissions performance, and easyJet for suggesting its aircraft were 22 per cent less polluting than rival planes with the use of figures skewed by its high passenger loads.

Last month, the Malaysian palm Oil Council was criticised by the ASA for suggesting that oil palm plantations were good for the environment and local people.

This year several car-makers including Lexus and Volkswagen have had environmental ads banned for four-wheel drives and saloons.

In the latest case, Mercedes-Benz suggested that drivers would switch to its new range safe in the knowledge that they would be helping the planet. "CO2 emissions for the range are down to 139g/km*, which means its better for the environment. It also means you pay less tax,” the company said

The model shown was a Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI Sport, which has emissions of 139g a kilometre. A footnote stated that the range’s emissions varied from 139g to 261g a kilometre,.

Mercedes-Benz told the ASA it believed it had taken reasonable steps to substantiate its claims and had not misrepresented emissions levels.

However the ASA said that the claim that the E-Class was “better for the environment" was likely to be understood as meaning the range as a whole was low in emissions compared with previous models and rival models.

Depending on model, fuel, gearbox and tyre sizes, only two vehicles out of the 24 in the range compared favourably with competitors’ vehicles of a similar class, while “a number of vehicles in the range had emissions levels that were at the higher end of the DfT emissions bandings.”

The ASA acknowledged the footnote. “However, we considered that the headline claim would give the impression to readers that a significant proportion of the range had achieved the lowest emissions figure, or a figure that was relatively low for the class, when that was not the case.”

The ad was banned under rules on truthfulness, motoring and environmental claims.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

    Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

    £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

    £16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn