Ad description

A paid for Google ad for MG seen on 16 August 2023 featured the claim, “Find A Dealer – Book A Test Drive. Save £1,000 On Your Next MG HS Plug-in Hybrid, MG ZS or MG5 EV Trophy Long Range Renewed with a modern design, increased range, and even more technology. Zero Emissions".


The ASA challenged whether the claim "Zero Emissions" misleadingly represented the vehicles’ environmental impact.


MG confirmed that all references to ‘Zero Emissions’ had been removed from their ads.



The CAP Code required that marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. The basis of environmental claims must be clear.

The ad stated, “Save £1,000 On Your Next MG HS Plug-in Hybrid, MG ZS or MG5 EV Trophy Long Range …” It then finished with the text, “Zero Emissions”. Consumers were likely to interpret the ad as promoting MG’s HS Plug-in Hybrid, MG ZS or MG5 EV Trophy Long Range and, in that context, that the “Zero Emissions” claim related to all of the vehicle types listed, in all circumstances.

The MG HS Plug-in Hybrid contained a petrol engine and a 90 kW electric motor, the MG ZS had a petrol engine only, although there was a fully electric version referred to as the MG ZS EV, and the MG5 EV Trophy Long Range was fully electric. We understood that when electric vehicles, unlike those with petrol or diesel engines, were driven no emissions were produced. However, in other circumstances, such as the manufacture of the car or when it was charged using electricity from the national grid, emissions were generated.

The basis of the claim in the ad was not explained. A ‘zero emissions’ claim for a fully electric vehicle, that did not make explicitly clear it related to emissions produced when the vehicle was being driven was likely to mislead. Hybrid vehicles emitted greenhouse gases from the tailpipe when the petrol or diesel source was in use. Any associated ‘zero emissions’ claim needed to clarify that it referred to emissions while the vehicle was driven on the electric motor. Similar claims for vehicles powered by petrol or diesel engines would always mislead.

The ad made the claim “Zero Emissions” without material information that was required to allow consumers to understand on what it was based. It did not differentiate between the vehicle types or clarify that the claim was restricted to emissions when an electric vehicle was being driven. We concluded that the ad, therefore, was likely to mislead.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Qualification) and 11.1 (Environmental Claims).


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told MG to ensure that “zero emissions” claims were made only where that was appropriate. They should ensure, in ads for fully electric vehicles, to be explicit that the claim applied only to the vehicle while it was being driven. In relation to ads for plug in hybrids, it should be clear it applied to driving only and when using the battery for power. It should never be made in relation to vehicles that were powered by petrol or diesel engines.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.3     11.1     3.9    

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