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# Complaints
Toyota hybrid campaign falls foul of ad watchdog after misleading cost-saving claim
No indication was given in the advertisement that the amount of money saved by purchasing the car was variable.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 5th 2019, 3:18 PM

A COMPLAINT MADE against a TV advertisement for a Toyota hybrid car has been upheld after the state’s advertising watchdog ruled that claims that customers would save money by switching to the hybrid vehicle were misleading. 

Eleven complainants in total contacted the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) about advertising for the hybrid car which appeared on TV, radio and social media. 

A number of issues were raised in relation to the advertising including rejected complaints that the claim “self-charging” was misleading and that the advertisers were claiming that their hybrid cars were more efficient than a plug-in hybrid or an electric only car. 

Ten of the complaints about the advertisement were rejected by the ASAI. 

In response to the cost-saving complaint, Toyota said the ad featured two genuine customer testimonials which “was completely unscripted” but said the amount of money saved by buying the vehicle was variable and was dependent on many factors. 

In its decision, the ASAI upheld the complaint saying the testimonials given by the two customers “had been used and the impression given by the advertisements was that in general, customers would make savings by switching to a Toyota hybrid car.”

No indication was given in the advertisement that the amount of money saved was variable and dependent on a range of factors, it ruled. 

The ASAI ordered that the advertising campaign be amended or withdrawn. 

Over the past number of years, the popularity of hybrid and Electric Vehicles has grown in Ireland with a renewed focus on cutting our emissions. 

The government recently warned, however, that increased EV uptake will lead to significant declines in Exchequer revenues from motor and fuel taxation.

A recent review found that these taxes “represent a significant proportion of total Irish Government revenues”.

Carbon tax receipts in 2018 were approximately €431 million, while fuel excise receipts in 2017 were approximately €2 billion.

The growth projection of EVs will result in €1.5 billion less revenue from motor tax, VAT and fuel oil tax between now and 2030, reaching €500 million in annual losses by 2030, if the government’s Climate Plan targets are reached.

‘Table & Chairs’

The complaints against Toyota are one of 16 case reports in the latest ASAI complaints bulletin.

The ASAI also upheld complaints about Carphone Warehouse and Lidl which advertised an image of a dining table with two chairs on one side of the table and a bench on the opposite side in a living room on offer for €49.99. 

The complainant said the promotion was misleading after they were told post-purchase that the chairs were not included in the offer as stated in the advertisement.

The complaint was upheld by the ASAI after Lidl apologised for the confusion.

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