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Government shelves review into car ads

Federal government withdraws review into car advertising voluntary code of practice

General News logo26 Sep 2012

THE federal government has binned its review into the self-regulation of car advertising, despite several new vehicle ads having fallen foul of the advertising watchdog this year.

The Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport commenced its review into the industry’s voluntary code of practice in May this year on behalf of the National Road Safety Council, but has now withdrawn the tender.

A spokesperson told AdNews the department had shelved its review “following consultation with the relevant automotive and advertising industry bodies”.

The current code was instituted by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) in July 2004 in order to ensure car-makers adhere to “appropriate” standards of road safety in their advertising.

It is understood the Government still supports a review of the code, and that the car industry is looking to establish its own review to commence during 2012.

FCAI spokesperson Paula Matthewson told GoAuto in a statement that a review would take place over the next few months, and that the organisation would seek input from external stakeholders.

"Initial indications are that the Code is working very well, with a low number of complaints being lodged and around 3 per cent of them being upheld," she said.

"This demonstrates that FCAI members are continuing to comply with the Code."This year, the Advertising Standards Board (ABS) has ordered at least three companies – Volvo, Suzuki and Peugeot – to modify commercials that breach the code forbidding promotion of reckless or unsafe driving following viewer complaints.

Suzuki was forced to modify a commercial for the Swift Sport hot hatch in April after the ABS said “the combination of the firm depression of the accelerator pedal, the increase in engine revs and the sped-up footage combine to give an overall impression of reckless speed”.

Commercials for the Volvo V60 and Peugeot 4008 were ordered to be modified in May and June respectively – the former for showing a helmeted driver around a wharf, sliding out of control and doing handbrake turns, and the latter for showing a passenger with her arm outside the car window.

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