'Misleading' Renault advert banned

The advertising watchdog has said a Renault advert has been banned for using French electricity figures to back a claim that the carmaker is reducing CO2 emissions.

Describing Renault's plan for four electric vehicles, the advert claimed "the well-to-wheel efficiency of a Renault Fluence ZE will help reduce CO2 emissions by at least 90% compared to a current diesel model".

Small print said the comparison was based on the "French average electric mix".

A reader complained that the commercial was misleading as the French electricity generation mix has significantly lower levels of CO2 emissions than electricity produced in the UK.

Renault defended the advert by saying it was not misleading to use French figures as it anticipated selling significantly more vehicles there than in the UK.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint, ruling that readers were unlikely to understand the difference between electricity generating mixes in France and the UK and how that would affect CO2 savings in different countries.

The ASA said: "Because the figure was not representative of CO2 savings typically available in the UK, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead."

It ruled that the ad should not appear again in its current form.

Copyright © Press Association 2010