ASA Adjudication on Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd
Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd
The Rivers Office Park
28 May 2008
Number of complaints:
A national press ad, for Nissan, was headlined "100% ADVENTURE 0% APR TYPICAL WITH 30% DEPOSIT" and showed photographs of three cars with accompanying descriptions of each. One of the cars was the "QASHQAI ALL MODE FROM £16,499"; text stated "ALL MODE 4WD for superior grip Safest car ever tested for adults by Euro NCAP ...".
One complainant, a MP, thought the claim that the Qashqai was the "safest car ever tested for adults by Euro NCAP" was misleading, because the car actually received the highest safety score in Euro NCAP's 'adult occupant' category only.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
Nissan explained that there were three Euro NCAP testing categories - 'adult occupant', 'child occupant' and 'pedestrian' - and the Qashqai received the highest safety score in the 'adult occupant' category. They provided a copy of an e-mail sent by Euro NCAP to Nissan's agency, which demonstrated that Euro NCAP had approved the claim that the Qashqai was "officially the safest car for adults ever tested by Euro NCAP". They said that claim had also appeared in a TV ad, which had been approved by Clearcast. They stated that neither the press ad nor the TV ad was currently appearing and there were no plans for the ads to reappear.
Nissan argued that it would be obvious to readers of the ad that the claim referred to the safety of the adult occupants of the car: because the main concern of car buyers was the transportation of the people in the car, the "adults" mentioned in the ad would be seen as referring to adults travelling in the car. They said the ad did not refer to pedestrians, their safety or road safety and believed it would make no sense to interpret the ad as suggesting that the Qashqai was the safest car ever tested for adult pedestrians. They pointed out that Euro NCAP did not divide pedestrian testing into adults and children and argued that it was not credible to suggest that the ad would claim safety in relation to adult, but not child, pedestrians.
The ASA noted the Qashqai had received the highest safety score in the Euro NCAP 'adult occupant' category but not in the 'pedestrian' category. We also noted the complainant's point that many pedestrians were adults. However, we considered the ad was clearly aimed at potential purchasers of the Qashqai and readers were therefore likely to see the claim "Safest car ever tested for adults by Euro NCAP" as referring to how safe the car would be for its occupants, not as making a claim about adult pedestrian safety. We concluded that the claim was unlikely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)