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.

News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing