Marketing a car like the Chevrolet Volt is hard. Is it electric? Is it a hybrid? How does it work? GM tried, with little success, to get across what the Volt really is (an electric car with an on-board gas generator). So when it came to marketing the European version, the Vauxhall Ampera, they skipped over the technical stuff…much to the chagrin of the UK’s advertising board, which has banned the Volt spot for being “misleading.”
Before you go any further, watch the advertisement below, and judge for yourself; is it misleading? Is it confusing? Knowing what the Volt/Ampera is, does this advertisement offend your sensibilities?
My personal opinion…no, this ad is neither misleading nor confusing. For the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority though, the advertisement does not clearly explain how the Volt works, instead citing a 360 mile range as though that is how far it can go on a single charge.
As we know, the Volt/Ampera is officially rated at between 30 and 50 miles per charge, after which a gas-powered generator charges the battery. Remember this commercial?
Well, it wasn’t too effective in explaining what the Volt does, nor did it help promote the Volt brand or its capabilities. Yes, after the initial electric charge wears out, these cars get middling gas mileage. But consider that Hyundai is allowed to promote a lineup of cars with 40 MPG, even though this is based on entirely unrealistic driving circumstances set out by the EPA. Seriously, who drives 48.3 MPH on the highway?
Then there is Ford, which has been blasting out marketing press releases for the new C-Max Energi, citing figures as high as 570 miles of range per tank of fuel. I’m not saying the C-Max can’t do it, but not a single person outside of Ford has driven the Blue Oval’s Prius fighter.
In other words, I see this Vauxhall Ampera ad as just another marketing attempt to twist the truth into a favorable pretzel of unrealistic promises. And considering all of the politically-motivated-but-incredibly-untrue stories coming out of certain political parties regarding vehicles like the Volt, I dunno, I guess I am just willing to let this one slide.
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments.