The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has cleared Volkswagen after 46 complaints were lodged over an advert featuring dogs riding in their owners' cars.
Viewers complained that the advert was irresponsible and distressing after depicting a number of dogs with their heads hanging out of car windows. Another scene showed a dog running after a car.
While harnesses or restraints were visible on many of the dogs, the ASA received 27 complaints that the scenes with the dogs leaning out of the car windows were irresponsible as they would be "harmful if emulated".
A further 27 complaints were received over the footage of a terrier running after a car as it appeared that the dog had been abandoned and therefore represented a poor example of pet care.
Another complaint was received over this scene that criticised the use of a dog on the road because it could cause an accident.
Volkswagen said in a statement it "appreciated that the British public was sensitive to issues of animal welfare" and added that care was taken to ensure that only dogs that would enjoy the experience appeared in the advert.
The ASA acknowledged that allowing dogs to hang their heads out of the window of a moving vehicle could damage their ears and eyes.
"Although we acknowledged that some viewers might find the shots of a dog running after a car upsetting, we did not consider that the majority of viewers would interpret the scenes as a depiction of abandonment or ill-treatment," it said.
"Because of that, we concluded that the scenes were unlikely to cause distress and were not irresponsible."
Copyright Press Association 2014