A radio ad for the Volvo V40 R-Design included a voice-over that stated "When it comes to driving in old Blighty, you do things a little differently. There's not miles of long, straight roads over here - just roundabouts, roads with barely enough room for a car, let alone a man in a van coming the other way. And of course, the speed bumps - brilliant, isn't it? That's why the Volvo V40 R-Design was tuned and tested to tackle those wonderfully British roads ... The Volvo V40 R-Design - made in Sweden, tuned for Britain".
Three complainants, who understood that the Volvo V40 was manufactured in Belgium and/or Malaysia, challenged whether the claim "The Volvo V40 R-Design - made in Sweden, tuned for Britain" was misleading.
Volvo Car UK Ltd believed that listeners would generally understand that Volvo was a Swedish brand and would interpret the ad to mean that the V40 R-Design originated from Sweden and had been adapted to suit a British environment. They considered the Volvo V40 R-Design to have been "born" in Sweden, because the design and development work and the construction and primary testing of the model had all taken place in Sweden. Volvo noted that it was commonplace in the auto industry for car components to originate from many different places and said cars were almost never entirely manufactured in one country. They acknowledged that the final assembly of the V40 R-Design was done in their factory in Ghent, Belgium, but stated that certain key parts of the car, including the car body's sheet metal components, most variations of the engine and the safety belts, were produced in Sweden. They confirmed that there was no connection between their assembly plant in Malaysia and the V40 R-Design sold in the UK.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) said they had felt that listeners would understand the phrase "made in Sweden", in the context of the ad as a whole, to indicate that the V40 R-design had been constructed and developed in, and originated from, Sweden. Because that was the case, they considered that the ad was not misleading.
The ASA agreed that most listeners would be aware that Volvo was originally a Swedish company. We noted that the emphasis of the ad, including in the phrase "made in Sweden, tuned for Britain", was on how the design of the car had been modified to suit a British environment. In that context, we considered that listeners were likely to understand that the model had been "made" in Sweden, in that it had been designed in that country, rather than that the vehicles themselves were manufactured there. We were therefore satisfied that the claim "made in Sweden" was unlikely to mislead as to the location of manufacture of the vehicles. We further noted that no element of the manufacturing process took place in Malaysia. We considered that even if the claim were interpreted to mean that the V40 R-Design was manufactured in Sweden, that interpretation would be unlikely to influence consumers' decisions in relation to the product. We concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers 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 consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (Misleading advertising), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.