A national press, poster, TV and internet display campaign for Vauxhall Motors, claiming that ‘a warranty can now last a lifetime’ has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The national campaign to promote the Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty claimed that it would last the 100,000 mile warranty limit covering the limit available to the 1st owners of all new cars.
Several complaints were made against varying elements of the campaign, created by McCann Erickson Communication House, with Warranty Direct, Quarry Garage and three members of the public questioned whether the lifetime warranty claim made by the press advert was contradicted by accompanying text stating that the offer was only available to the first owners of the car, limited to 100,000 miles.
38 complaints against the TV adverts claim making the same offer were also received, one against the poster, one against the online advert.
Meanwhile, another two viewers challenged the claim made by Vauxhall that it was the first manufacturer to offer a warranty that ‘could last a lifetime’, saying that they understood that other manufacturers had previously offered a lifetime warranty.
Vauxhall owner, General Motors claimed that the offer made to consumers of a 100,000 mile warranty was ‘unique’ to the industry and was unlimited by time. It also claimed that research showed that 96.08% of new car buyers would not reach the 100,000 miles in the lifetime of their ownership, and that the average use of a Vauxhall owner of 7.415.2 miles per year, meant that the warranty would last almost 14 years.
It was also highlighted that most of the TV ad’s content focused on Vauxhall’s history, rather than promoting the warranty offer and that it stated "A warranty that could last a lifetime" and admitted that other UK manufacturers offered warranties with a limit between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, but claimed that Vauxhall was the only one with no time limit.
The ASA upheld research provided that most new owners would not reach 100,000 miles in the lifetime of their ownership and that those who read the poster and press ads would understand that this was not an offer for the length of their own lifetime.
The ASA however did believe that other UK manufacturers had offered a warranty limit of 100,000 miles, though it was subject to a time restriction of seven years, and that Vauxhall’s offer did differ to this, but it considered the main message of the advert was that the lifetime of the vehicle was determined by the mileage limit of 100,000 miles.
Due to other warranty’s being offered with the 100,000 mile limit, the claim by Vauxhall to be the first with the 100,000 mile limit, and that it was "the first manufacturer in the UK to offer you a warranty that could last a lifetime", was misleading, and ruled that the campaign could not be shown again in the same form.