Toyota told to scrap 'best built' slogan
Published 21/04/2016 | 02:30
Toyota may not scrap its "best built cars in the world" slogan - despite a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) that it should do so.
A spokesman for the car company said a ruling by the ASAI was not legally binding and company chiefs were currently considering what to do.
He told the Irish Independent the judgment confirmed that Toyota cars were the best built "mass produced" cars - but, theoretically, an artisan company might build better cars.
The ASAI considered a complaint against the Japanese car manufacturer by Dublin-based advertising agency Owens DDB on behalf of Volkswagen, although the complaint was withdrawn late last year.
A number of customer complaints were also made about the tag line.
"They centred on the question of the compatibility of the claim with the widely publicised recalls (of cars)," a statement from the ASAI said.
The ASAI committee found that to prove a "superlative" claim such as "best built" would require a very high level of substantiation, especially if the claim was "best built in the world".
Industry experts commissioned by the ASAI were happy for Toyota to say they made the "best built mass-produced cars in the world".
However, following the investigation they decided to prohibit Toyota from using the current form of its 20-year-old phrase as part of its brand proposition.
The company was also refused the opportunity to appeal the decision.
A statement from the ASAI confirmed its rulings were not legally binding, but part of a voluntary code.
"Cases are not legally binding. However, monitoring has shown a 98pc compliance rate," a statement said.
"Publication of the case reports of the complaints committee, including names of advertisers, promoters and agencies involved, is an important element of the self-regulatory system.
"A marketing communication which breaks the rules must be withdrawn or amended and media will refuse to publish a marketing communication which fails to conform to code requirements," it said.
Toyota Ireland's chief executive, Steve Tormey, said: "We are absolutely bemused by this ruling from the ASAI and their refusal to allow an appeal."
He added it appeared to his company that the ASAI "are dancing on a pinhead" in their use of the "English language and common sense".
This, he said, was especially the case considering the fact that the independent automotive industry expert commissioned by the ASAI expressed the viewpoint that the claim was valid.
"We will now move forward and continue to do what we do best, dedicating our time and energy to serving the best interests of the 390,000 Irish customers of Toyota who have, and continue to, put their faith in the best built cars in the world," he said.
Owens DDB previously made a complaint for Volkswagen about a 2013 Toyota TV advertisement in which the car maker claimed to have the best resale value of any car brand in Ireland. That complaint was upheld.