Ad description

A national press ad for Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd seen on 3 February 2017 for ‘The Electric February Event’ included the text “World leaders in 100% electric since 2010”.


The complainant, who believed that a competitor had sold more electric cars, challenged whether the claim “World leaders in 100% electric since 2010” was misleading.


Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd said they thought the claim would only be understood as meaning that Nissan (on its own and as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance) was one of the world leaders in the manufacturing of all electrics cars rather than “the” world leader or similar type of claim. They interpreted ‘world leaders’ as being similar to the phrase ‘leaders in the field.’ Further, they did not accept that the claim constituted a comparison with an identifiable competitor.

Nissan said that the claim was not misleading as it could be substantiated. They provided figures from the Society of Motor Traders and Manufacturers that showed in the first quarter of 2017 they held 56.1% of the all-electric market. They also provided JATO sales data that indicated that cumulatively Nissan has sold the most all-electric vehicles since 2010. The same data demonstrated that between 2011 and 2015, year on year Nissan were the best selling all-electric car manufacturer. Nissan also provided us with evidence that the Leaf car featured in the advert had received a number of awards. They also provided us with examples of industry and media publications that Nissan were widely acknowledged for their technology and innovation in the sector.



The ASA considered that the claim, in the absence of any qualification, was ambiguous and likely to have multiple consumer interpretations. We acknowledged that some consumers might interpret it as an innovation and technology claim. We noted that the Nissan logo appeared with the strapline "Innovation that excites", but that this was included in all of their ads and was not otherwise linked to the claim. Further, given that the ad contained no further information, we considered that in the context of the full ad at least a significant proportion of consumers would likely interpret the claim as a best selling claim.

We reviewed the evidence submitted by Nissan and the sales figures they provided made it clear that since 2010 they had cumulatively sold the most all-electric vehicles. However, we noted that in 2010 they sold significantly fewer vehicles than in the following years, and had not been the best-selling manufacturer in that year. Further, we noted that, although they had been the best selling car manufacturer in the all-electric category each year between 2011 and 2015 that was not the case in 2016.

Because the claim stated “since 2010”, we considered that those consumers who interpreted it as a best selling claim would expect that they had started to be the best selling manufacturer in 2010, and still were. However, this was not the case given that they were not in 2010, and had not been in the latest year, 2016.

Given the above, we concluded that the claim was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.    3.3 3.3 Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the  medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means.
 (Misleading advertising),  3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.  (Substantiation) and  3.33 3.33 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product.  (Comparisons).


The claim must not appear in its current form. We told Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd to ensure that future ads made clear the basis of any comparative claim.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.3     3.33     3.7    

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