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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    SEN Teacher

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you that teacher who c...

    SEN Teacher

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you that teacher who c...

    IT Auditor

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: IT Auditor , Information Governance, NHS...

    Process Improvement Analyst (Testing)

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform