By on August 23, 2012

 

You can see this ad. Television viewers in the UK can’t.  The Chevrolet Volt  is sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Ampera, and its ad has been banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority. It says the ad is misleading. The ad claims a 360-mile range. GM is a serial offender when it comes to alternate realities, and this ad is the latest installment.

Says the Daily Mail:

The real range of the electric batteries in the Vauxhall Ampera is a rather more modest 50 miles. And to go beyond that, it relies on help from a somewhat less green source – a petrol engine.”

The ad, created by long-time GM agency McCann Erickson, came complete with the usually hard to read and even harder to comprehend disclaimer:

“Comparison based on electric vehicles and extended range electric vehicles driven electrically at all times, even when an additional power source is generating electricity”.

The advertising standards bureau did not buy into it. Says the ruling:

“We considered that throughout the ad the emphasis was on the fact that the car was being driven electrically, and that most viewers would not understand that the car was in some circumstances being powered by electricity generated with a petrol engine. The ad promoted an innovative product which many viewers would not immediately understand and we therefore considered that it would need to explicitly state that the car had a petrol engine. Because it did not clearly explain how the vehicle worked in extended-range mode, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

The ASA does not parse an ad through the eyes of a lawyer, or through the eyes of GM apologists and amateur spinmeisters. The ASA sees it through the eyes of the ad’s target, the average consumer. That consumer is being fooled. Using imagery of plugs and cables, and the slogan “Driving electricity further”, the ad pushes electric range, and that range simply isn’t 360 miles on pure electricity.

This isn’t the first time that GM got into hot water with its allegedly clever, but in truth ham-fisted public relations. Last March, the language police embedded in new and old media feigned outrage over a Chevy Volt ad that claims that the car can save “a crapload of money.”  TTAC was less upset about the robust language, but challenged the claim. Even after the $7,500 credit, the Volt is overpriced. When Tony Posawatz was still line director of the Volt, he told Bloomberg in an interview that there is no such thing as a crapload of savings:

“The Volt’s cost of ownership matches the average car when including the $7,500 U.S. tax incentive and gasoline fuel savings.”

That remark clashed with the advertising claims, and possibly ended Tony’s career. In June, Posawatz left GM into early retirement, only to land at Fisker as its new CEO.

In 2010, then CEO Ed Whitacre claimed in an ad that GM paid back its “loan, in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule.” Even the Detroit News, by some regarded as the in-house organ of GM, had issues with the ad and said it “glosses over the reality.” Congressman Darrell Issa said the ad brought GM “dangerously close to committing fraud.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a deceptive advertising complaint with the FTC. GM stopped running the ad.

CEI also filed a Freedom of Information request with the Department of Treasury. The statutory period for a response to an FOI request is 20 days, Treasury took a year. After a review of the documents, the CEI says “that General Motors and the Obama administration coordinated their PR strategy regarding GM’s much criticized 2010 ad campaign, in which the car maker misleadingly claimed to have repaid all its government loans.”

In all three cases, the claims were technically true, but they created an untrue perception. The Vauxhall Ampera, a rebadged Chevrolet Volt that is sold in the rest of Europe as the Opel Ampera, technically has a 360 mile range on electricity, but only when the gasoline motor is running. The Volt technically saves a shitload of money, but only if you disregard the price of the car, and only if you don’t take it farther than the grocery store. GM technically repaid the $7 billion loan part of the government’s $50 billion investment, but forgets the $43 billion balance, and ignores that the equity part today translates into “an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion,” if Forbes is correct.

Perception is reality. These allegedly “clever” ads bank on the stupidity of the viewer. While technically true under a high powered magnifying glass, they attempt to create an alternate reality that is far from the truth. People don’t like it when they find out that they have been had.

As a former GM owner, I say: Don’t get smart with me, GM. Get real.

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63 Comments on “GM’s Alternate Reality: UK Calls Volt/Ampera Ad Misleading, Bans It...”


  • avatar
    cannyfriar

    I get my car serviced at a multi-brand dealer here in Heidelberg (Germany) that includes Opel. I haven’t yet, but should, complain about their advertising for the Opel Ampera when they put me on hold on the telephone. It’s along the lines of:

    “This is the Opel Ampera at 30 km/h {silence}. This is the Opel Ampera at 60 km/h {silence}. And this is the Opel Ampera at 160 km/h {silence}”

    It’s so totally ridiculous that it’s beyond advertising parody – I wonder if they get away with it as an in-house “message” that doesn’t need to bear any resemblance to the truth…

    • 0 avatar
      harshciygar

      Also, there is nothing false about those statements. As long as there is juice in the battery, the Volt/Ampera can go from 0 to its top speed without the gas generator kicking on.

      • 0 avatar
        Manic

        harshciygar, I’d bet that at whatever speed there’s still some road noise and not total silence.

      • 0 avatar
        cannyfriar

        I’ve not had the pleasure of a drive in a Nissan Leaf or an iMiev, let alone a Tesla, but I’d place a decent wager that the electric motor is not silent at 160 km/h…

      • 0 avatar
        harshciygar

        There is a Mitsubishi i-MiEV in my driveway that I am test reviewing right now.

        Save for wind noise, the car is uncannily quiet. Even with the windows down, it hardly makes any more noise than a gentle “Whirrrrr”-ing sound.

        Again, you people are taking a simple statement far too literal. IT IS MARKETING. I didn’t see the commercials for the Honda Odyssey and then get all out of shape when the one I saw on dealership lots didn’t come with fireworks and rock music.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        There may very well be electric motor noise at 160kph (100mph), but it’s certainly drowned out by wind and tire noise, so I don’t hear any.

    • 0 avatar
      Slab

      What a load. I live about 1/2 mile from a freeway. I rarely hear engine noise (occasional truck) but I hear tire “hum” all night long. At speed, engines are not noisy. Tires are.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    Woo, let’s take an automaker to task for stretching claims about what its cars can or can’t do!!

    Ford claims the C-Max hybrid has a 550 mile range, a convenient 10-miles more than the Prius V. Yet nobody has so much has sat down for a drive around a test track to confirm the truth of this statement.

    Hyundai/Kia claims they have a whole lineup of 40 MPG cars. I had a Kia Rio for a week, and even driving at 60 mph for 3 hours didn’t get me close to 40 mpg (apparently the road tests don’t factor in HILLS, of which there are plenty in New England).

    Ford gets a free pass because hey, who can disprove it? Hyundai gets a free pass because their advertisement reads “Mileage may vary”.

    Ahh, but it is GM, so we must feign outrage every time they do something that offends our sensibilities because, as you remind us in every post, GM was the recipient of a government bailout.

    So in conclusion, in the UK it is OK for the BBC’s own Top Gear to do a sketchy “road test” of the Tesla Roadster that according to Elon Musk still has customers calling with questions about the car’s capability.

    But a technically-true-but-theyre-obviously-not-telling-the-whole-story advertisement for the Volt/Ampera? TOO FAR MAN!

    • 0 avatar
      dejal1

      60 MPH? Way too high a speed.

      That’s your problem. Next time try 48.3 MPH

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fe_test_schedules.shtml

      • 0 avatar
        harshciygar

        Right. My point being, if we are going to take GM to task for this advertisement, we should do the same for other automakers.

        Why doesn’t Hyundai splash 40MPG AT 48.3 MPH in their ads? Their ad is technically true, but it does not explain the testing methodology in any meaningful way to the average consumer.

        Remember the early Volt ads? The ones that tried to explain how the car REALLY works? Those did not go over well with the buying public.

        In other words, GM tried to do exactly what Bertel and the BBC take them to task for; explaining how the Volt really works. The ads were confusing at best, and did nothing (at least in my mind) to promote the brand.

        So, why not try something else? They do, and they get slammed for it, again. It is a lose-lose situation.

      • 0 avatar
        dejal1

        They could never explain the fueleconomy.gov link in a commercial.

        I don’t think though, that the government mandates a explanation of testing methodology on the window sticker. They should.

        That being said, I’ve used the #s to compare one car to another, not that I was going to hit those #s. If I do, good for me.

        My 2011 CRV had these figures from the EPA

        21 City, 23 Combined, 27 Highway

        I’m doing a lot less driving in the last year than I used to, mostly city and rural open roads. I’m probably at the 48.3 MPH or less most of the time. If the mileage computer is correct, I get 28.1. So, I beat the sticker.

        I wonder whos’ idea the Highway speed was. Government or automakers? Most people probably think 65+ for Highway.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        That aspect of fuel economy testing is frustrating. Most American buyers would assume highway speed is a steady 70 mph for non-aggressive right lane normal highway driving. At 70 mph more cars pass you than you pass, but you’re not so slow that you’re a road hazard. If the highway speed test reflected reality, there would be more emphasis on aerodynamics.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Frustratingly, many auto mags “review” cars, especially in their “first look” type reviews, without including any kind of real-world estimate or experience of the fuel economy. So it’s very likely nobody outside of the EPA has looked at the C-Max’ real fuel economy.

      Of course, nobody’s going to run it right to the end of the tank to check the range but knowing the real fuel economy would help understand the real range.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Initial reviews are out for the C-Max and it seems the EPA estimates are accurate (so far). The 47/47/47 rating should allow for resonably similar efficiency in the city or on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      harshciygar, please read the article again.

      GM Volt ad was faulted for:
      1) not explicitly stating there is a gas engine running
      2) creates a deception to the typical viewers

      In the case of Kia’s claim of 40mph
      1) there is an explicit statement that EPA method is used
      2) the general public already knows what EPA method is about

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        wsn, the point harshciygar was trying to make is that THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT for a CAR. This isn’t an ad where some actor is wearing a white-lab coat with a stethiscope promises that the Volt will cure cancer. Its designed for you to come in and take a test-drive where the objective person will actually find out for themselves if the claims are true.

        I seem to remember the first Prius commericials claimed a very similiar line of advertisement and don’t remember anyone taking them to task for it. But then again, that’s Toyota and they don’t take no gummint money.

    • 0 avatar
      alipax

      The numbers that all car makers use are the ones provided by US government sanctioned tests, using government guidelines. So, if anyone is guilty of bad numbers, it is the epa, not the car manufacturers. Ford and Hyundai do not get a free pass. These are the numbers created under the uniform testing conditions. No, we don’t feign outrage, we are outraged when GM treats us like morons and effectively lies. As for your comment about the Odyssey and fireworks, you are being silly. By your logic, Honda is lying because their cars do not come with the gorgeous women used in their commercials. The epa numbers may not exactly reflect reality, but they are useful to compare relative economy of a wide range of vehicles. What GM does in their advertising is misleading at best, intentionally dishonest at worst. For whatever reason you seem to be an apologist for GM. One thing that you can say about Ford, is that they are not costing the taxpayers billions as did GM and Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      harshciygar………………..

      ———–(rant start)———–

      Exactly. I am not a GM fanbois, but I think the the good folks at the British Advertising Standards Bureau might consider getting a real job, and stop living off the taxpayers in the UK!

      That Ampera ad was no more deceptive than 90% of the advertising I see every day in America. Maybe we should just let people know that “caveat emporium” is still the name of the game, and shysters lurk around every corner, even when clothed in corporate attire.

      People need to use their own judgment, intelligence, and discretion when buying anything. What, — are we going to spoon-feed a government-sanitized version of the “TRUTH” to everyone?

      Boy, that really works, doesn’t it?

      ———–(rant stop)———–

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Ford claims the C-Max gets 570 miles on a tank. That is 120-130 miles more than the Prius V.

    • 0 avatar
      harshciygar

      Depends on the article you quote. Ford has said more than 500 miles, 550 miles, and I guess now it is 570 miles?

      Just proves my point. I love Ford, but it is kind of an absurd measuring stick. But no one bats an eye and just takes them for their word?

      You are correct about the Prius V though; I meant the Prius Plug-In, which has a 540-550 mile range. Ford compares the C-Max to both Prius models interchangeably in their press releases.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yes, the C-Max Energi and Prius Plug-In and closer in overall range. I still have to drive the C-Max in the real world, but 47 mpg x 13.5 gallons of fuel is 634.5 miles of range.

        The bigger issue is that the C-Max is in between sizes of Prius models. It compares favorably to the V in fuel economy, which is bigger, but not the regular Prius. The reverse is true with storage space.

        I completely agree that the Ford marketing department has been awful lately. They were so excited to put out random mileage targets and estimated EPA measurements, that they forgot to actually build the car first.

  • avatar

    Wait, what General Motors car did you formerly own, Bertel?

    • 0 avatar
      The Doctor

      Car? I thought he meant he once owned GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      Perhaps it was a reference to the bailout and that all Americans are owners of “GM”?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Unless I am mistaken BS is not American (maybe he got citizenship all those years ago when he lived in the US for a few years) nor lives in America.

        I look forward to a new series at TTAC calling out technically true, but not honest in perception, adverts.

      • 0 avatar
        The Doctor

        I think it’s more likely that he owned an Opel Kadett at some point.

      • 0 avatar

        For the record:

        BS lived in the United States of America from 1981 through 2007. In terms of GM products, he owned a Chevrolet Caprice, a Chevrolet S10 Stepside and a Cadillac deVille. Much to the joy of mike978, he shifted his loyalty to Ford. He had a standing subscription to a top of the line Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer (black, tan leather seats) that was delivered new to his driveway every two years. Please direct your FOI requests to the Departments of Motorvehicles of Albermarle County, VA, and Suffolk County, NY.

        For his choice of cars, he had to endure persistent ridicule from his German client Volkswagen, which caused him mental anguish and loss of revenue.

        He also is outraged, outraged he says about the discriminatory and racist remarks. The ones with the Opel Kadett.

      • 0 avatar
        The Doctor

        Bertel,

        I hereby apologise for the comments and will happily make a donation to a charity of your choice. A liver foundation, perhaps?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Thanks for the extra details, I never knew you had lived here so long.
        I don`t know why you think I would be happy that you switched to Ford. As long as you liked the car then I don`t care what you drive. You mistake me for one of the B&B who berate people for buying a “non-approved” vehicle and calling them stupid or complaining about their girlfriends.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Sounds like they got Patrick Stewart to do the voiceover in that ad. Must have cost them a few bucks.

    While others complain about the GM bashing, I say keep it up. GM is a POS company that weaseled billions of taxpayer dollars out of American and Canadian citizens. And now they act like all the bailout money is fully paid back and everything is awesome. Even though it should be obvious to anyone with a pulse (which was their entire customer base circa 2000-2008) that they’re still in severe trouble. Companies need to be called out on their BS. And BS from TTAC does a good job of that!

    • 0 avatar
      Volts On Fire

      Anything that further grinds GM beneath our heel is worthy of praise in my book.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      GM is not a POS company. They are a competent manufacturer of light trucks that could have merged with a competent manufacturer of passenger cars if the market had been allowed to work. That combined company would have ditched GM management, the UAW, Opel, and cars with Opel DNA, making the likely market solution politically unacceptable.

  • avatar

    I wish Rick Wagoner would come back.

  • avatar
    Mark45

    I must be on the wrong site. I thought I was at The Truth About Cars, not The Perception About Cars.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    48.3 MPH??

    Where do our technocrats come up with such a ludicrous number?
    Who drives at that speed anyways? It should be either 45 or 50 MPH.

    I propose that a better number should be used… the square root of 2 times pi multiplied by the centigrade equivalent of your feet’s temperature…and please accurate to three decimal places.

  • avatar
    alan996

    I would ask that in future stories concerning GM’s government bailout you include the following in the numbers of dollars sent to them by the government (pass through from the taxpayers and bond holders). 10 Billion from the Canadian government and the 28 billion is savings from bond shenanigans.

    “High on the list will be placating General Motors’ gm bondholders, who’ve been asked to take 30 cents on the dollar in new bonds and GM shares in exchange for the cash they lent the automaker by buying its earlier bonds”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=6921753&page=1

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Ampera ad with the range claim is certainly misleading. I don’t blame the UK authorities for banning it.

    The Volt “crapload” ad was fine. “Crapload” doesn’t mean anything, and it’s understood that the consumer is smart enough to know that.

    Puffery is legal, and it’s both commonplace and innocuous. When Irish Spring suggested that using their soap will make its customer “clean as a whistle”, there’s no need for Proctor and Gamble to prove that whistles are, indeed, clean or that whistles set the standard for cleanliness. When Toyota marketed its cars with the “Oh, what a feeling!” tagline, there was no need to quantify what that feeling was, or whether it was the sort of feeling that somebody who purchased an automobile should desire to have.

    It’s really reaching to complain about the “crapload” ad, anymore than it would be worth complaining about Mercedes pitching that its cars are “engineered like no other car in the world”, when no one has quantified whether Mercedes uses nuts and bolts and sheetmetal that are different from anyone else’s. If anything, one should know that with safety and emission standards being standardized in the US market that there is no way that Mercedes could be uniquely engineered and indeed not be similar to any other car in the world, otherwise it would fail to comply with those rules.

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      Might want to include something about the Axe spray in there too :)

      Commercials are meant to sell. Facts come later. Like how Toyota’s ad about money they spent on safety when it was really money they spent on engineering as a whole. This stuff happens.

      A Fiat Abarth isn’t likely going to get me an Italian girl like it did Charlie Sheen (although, I don’t think she is really Italian).

      How about the Veloster 3rd door commercial? We can go on and on.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      @ pch101:

      The UK government authorities did not ban the ad. It was so egregious, the UK Advertising Standards Authority banned it. That’s the industry advertising folks.

      From Wikipedia:

      “The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the self-regulatory organisation (SRO) of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom. The ASA is a non-statutory organisation and so cannot interpret or enforce legislation. However, its code of advertising practice[1] broadly reflects legislation in many instances. The ASA is not funded by the British Government, but by a levy on the advertising industry.”

      You can go to the ASA website and read about this case.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I think that those of us who were avid GM customers as younger adults are pretty upset that over the years we were being ripped off and lied to by a company we put our trust in. And we suffered the pain from all of the problematic cars/trucks that they turned out. Then we finally got a clue and moved to more reliable car companies. It angers me that GM has never really gotten the message!! They are still acting like the old GM and refuse to really make the necessary changes to ‘get it right’.
    So when I see a GM product on the road, I just figure that the owner is either a GM or UAW employee or just plain ‘stupid’ to be doing business with GM.
    I wish the Obama administration would have let GM die like any other badly run corporation. But they saved the UAW Bacon so that GM was left with one of the cancers that killed it in the first place. Keeping a cancer patient alive and allowing the cancer to propagate will surely kill it in the long run. So GM is doomed as long as they can’t get themselves clean of their cancer. Management is also to blame and is a continuing parasite on the GM Body. IMO it is just a matter of time until they finally take the dirt nap that they have worked so hard to earn. But there will surely be some kind of payoff by the UAW to keep them living off of GM’s carcass for as long as they can.
    Is there still any wonder that we are heading to a time when democracy is gone and it will be rule by the monied special interest groups? We are already there IMO.
    Just think how powerful GM would have been if they had gone belly up and had a chance to hire the right workers at very competitive wages and benefits. Japan Inc could have been really threatened by such a dynamic and cost effective/well managed company.
    BY saving GM, we did Japan Inc a big favor. What would the Japanese do if they suddenly found themselves being the high cost producers here in the US???? Would have been exciting to see this played out!!!

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      When GM was going bankrupt, there were NO buyers other than the gov’t. Pieces maybe have been bought later, but at the time of no lending, it would have required cash on hand to buy the pieces that may be worthless soon.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      “BY saving GM, we did Japan Inc a big favor. What would the Japanese do if they suddenly found themselves being the high cost producers here in the US???? Would have been exciting to see this played out!!!”

      Glad you can see the rosy view of that, cause I can’t. Troubles me that no one sees it the other way, as in, what would have happened if we didn’t lend some money to our top Global Corporation. You think maybe the perception that America is the Greatest might take a hit when the greatest corp since the East India Company (which interestingly the British Government nationalized in 1874) goes belly-up, leaving millions in the US and all over the world into a depression, not just a recession. It’s just as plausable as your rose-colored, laissez-faire, free-market thought-speak.

      But what do I know. Budweiser was sold to a Belgium corp not too long back and no one in America hemmed a haw. Guess we only like the corporations that are fomenting the media and buying our political system.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        dolorean – we are in a depression anyway. Recognition of said depression, of course, like GM’s advertisements, is hidden beneath the veneer of “technical” truths.

        …should’ve let GM die then. It will die later, with greater consequence to the people the bailout purported to protect.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    GM knows who its remaining customers are. They’ll buy the ads, even defend them. There are parallels in politics.

  • avatar

    “Nobody buys a $40,000 car thinking they’re going to save money.”

    That’s what a Volt owner at a GM sponsored event last year told me. The comments were echoed by my cousin, a prototypical early adopter if there ever was one, who was one of the first retail customers for the Volt. He’s thrilled with it.

    I haven’t spoken with a single Volt owner who isn’t very impressed with the car. I was at the Concours of America talking to a guy who was displaying his 1969 SD396 Beaumont, a quasi Pontiac SS Chevelle made in Canada for the Canadian market. The guy is a huge car fan and has owned a bunch of cool cars. It’s the second time that I’ve seen his Beaumont at a top shelf Detroit area show and he lives in NY state so he has the time and the means to participate in the car hobby at a high level. It’s a safe guess that he’s affluent. In our conversation he mentioned luxury brands that he’s owned. I was talking to him about cars in general, I hadn’t even mentioned the Volt or EVs and he just volunteered, “You know what I think is the best car that I’ve ever owned?” So I asked him, and he said, “My Chevy Volt.”

    Pete DeLorenzo likes to talk about the “true believers” that manage to get good product out of the Big 3. I think the Volt shows what the talented people at GM are capable of doing. Marketing gaffes like this ad ban in the UK do a disservice to the people who developed the car.

    • 0 avatar
      alipax

      A nice car that is remarkably expensive for what it has to offer, even after $7500 in government reates/subsidies. No wonder, people are staying away from it in droves.

  • avatar
    Koblog

    The problem with the Volt is that MY tax money (yes, I’m not a member of the 46% of Americans who pay no federal income tax) was used by Obama to buy GM and give it to the UAW.

    Then my tax money subsidized smug rich One Percenters to buy a Volt so they can prove how smug they are.

    If this friggin’ car is so right and you are a better person for owning one, and it costs nothing to operate, and makes no noise… sell it at full price!

    NO TAX INCENTIVES using MY tax money!

    GM, stand on your own two bankrupt feet.

  • avatar
    JimNtexas

    “most viewers would not understand that the car was in some circumstances being powered by electricity generated with a petrol engine.”

    This says a lot more about British consumers than it does about GM.

    Is there in the world, anyone who has seriously considered, let alone purchased, a Volt who was surprised to find a petrol motor?

    The difference between the Volt and the pure electric cars is that if you drive a Volt like a pure electric car, it uses energy like a pure electric car. But you can ALSO drive a Volt like a real car. Which pure electrics can’t and are not.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      If you brag that your car has a 360 mile range, you are certainly implying that gas isn’t part of the equation. The Volt has a 9 gallon tank. Does 40 mpg impress anyone in the UK? It is downright pathetic for an efficiency specialist that also needs a battery charge to achieve it. Why would you want to advertise that your over-priced 2+2 sedan gets worse mileage than many mainstream compacts?

  • avatar
    alipax

    Well, my previous comments have been awaiting moderation for four hours, which defeats the purpose of trying to make fairly contemporaneous posts.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I personally think the Volt is an engineering tout-de-force. But GM has never properly explained how the range-extender gas engine works with the battery to keep a high level of performance. The only clear explanation I’ve read ANYWHERE was in Car and Driver two years ago.

    From the comments here on TTAC in the past, 98% of the commentariat doesn’t understand it either. GM will now have to come up with a way to explain it in simple terms. The UK Advertising Standards authority is an industry-funded watchdog, not some goverment oufit.

    Here’s a part of their summary on the ad:

    “We considered that throughout the ad the emphasis was on the fact that the car was being driven electrically, and that most viewers would not understand that the car was in some circumstances being powered by electricity generated with a petrol engine. The ad promoted an innovative product which many viewers would not immediately understand and we therefore considered that it would need to explicitly state that the car had a petrol engine. Because it did not clearly explain how the vehicle worked in extended-range mode, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
    The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 9.8 (Environmental claims).

    Action

    The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Vauxhall to ensure they clearly explained how the car worked in future advertising.”

  • avatar
    wmba

    I personally think the Volt is an engineering tout-de-force. But GM has never properly explained how the range-extender gas engine works with the battery to keep a high level of performance. The only clear explanation I’ve read ANYWHERE was in Car and Driver two years ago.

    From the comments here on TTAC in the past, 98% of the commentariat doesn’t understand it either. GM will now have to come up with a way to explain it in simple terms. The UK Advertising Standards authority is an industry-funded watchdog, not some goverment oufit.

    Here’s a part of their summary on the ad:

    “We considered that throughout the ad the emphasis was on the fact that the car was being driven electrically, and that most viewers would not understand that the car was in some circumstances being powered by electricity generated with a petrol engine. The ad promoted an innovative product which many viewers would not immediately understand and we therefore considered that it would need to explicitly state that the car had a petrol engine. Because it did not clearly explain how the vehicle worked in extended-range mode, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

    The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 9.8 (Environmental claims).

    Action

    The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Vauxhall to ensure they clearly explained how the car worked in future advertising.”

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, don’t know how but I somehow got two for one on that previous post, and a couple of spelling errors to boot. Well, I’m not being paid to be perfect, and on TTAC, bad proof-reading is the norm!

  • avatar
    inddirect

    Had an ’81 Citation as my first car, way back in the malaise era. Enough GM for a lifetime, for me!


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  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India