Britain’s advertising watchdog on Wednesday upheld complaints that an advertorial for Jaguar Land Rover’s new car, Jaguar XE, encouraged unsafe driving by claiming its technology enabled drivers to check calendars and use other apps in the hands-free mode.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said in its ruling: “We told Jaguar Land Rover Ltd that their future advertising must not encourage drivers to carry out such tasks that were likely to distract their attention from the road, making them incapable of having full control of the vehicle.”
The text in the advertorial in The Guardian newspaper in September 2016 said: “Drive time is no longer downtime with Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone integrated apps and voice-controlled infotainment systems. In-car technology is transforming the commute…”
ASA said using a hands-free mobile phone was not illegal and the article had stated that the technologies in question could be used "without compromising safety", but it noted that the UK's Highway Code states the use of hands-free kit can be a distraction, and that motorists should stop to make or take calls.
"The advertorial featured the headline claim that 'drive time is no longer downtime'. We considered readers would interpret this to mean that drivers could now perform various other tasks while driving," it said in the ruling.
“Whilst we understood that the work related activities and communicating with family could be carried out in the car via hands-free technology, we considered that they were likely to distract a driver’s attention from the road and therefore preventing them from having full control of the vehicle. Therefore, we concluded that the advertorial was irresponsible because it was likely to encourage unsafe driving practices.”
A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said it was disappointed. “For all of the connected car technologies we offer our customers, we will always offer what is safe to do whilst driving. The hands-free technology in the Jaguar XE has been developed and tested to allow users to put their phone safely and legally away, and give priority to focus on the driving experience."
Jaguar Land Rover, which is built around the two classic car brands with manufacturing facilities in the UK, was acquired by Tata Motors in 2008.