Toyota’s claims not genuine: ACCC takes aim at automotive advertising on ‘Leather Interior’
On 31 January 2013, Toyota Motor Corporation Australia was forced to admit that it had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct through advertisements which claimed that certain vehicles in the Toyota range included ‘leather’ or ‘all leather’ interiors.
An ACCC investigation revealed that customers who purchased vehicles from the Camry, Aurion, Prado and Kluger range between 2005 and 2009 may have been mislead by these advertisements, as in fact the upholstery in these vehicles was part-leather but also utilised synthetic materials.
In addition, the ACCC highlighted concerns that even after Toyota began to phase in references in advertising to ‘leather accents’ and ‘leather accented’ vehicle interiors in 2009, some Toyota dealers continued to mislead customers by suggesting that these references actually alluded to interiors that were fully upholstered in leather.
Toyota has issued a statement apologising for its offending conduct and has also provided a court enforceable undertaking that it will publish corrective notices in leading newspapers and on its website, will implement a trade practices compliance and training program, and will create new procedures for reviewing product information materials before they are published.
Toyota has also undertaken that it will:
- Not use the word ‘leather’ (without the word ‘accents’ or ‘accented’) in advertising unless it is able to • demonstrate that the component is entirely upholstered in leather and has no synthetic upholstery content; and
- Not use ‘leather accents’ or ‘leather accented’ in advertising unless details of the leather, partial leather • and non-leather interior components have been provided on the Toyota Australia website within a certain time frame.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims took this opportunity to remind businesses that claims regarding the composition of products must be genuine, and that any attempt to mislead consumers will be taken very seriously by the ACCC.
Contact one of our Automotive Law Team members if you have any queries in relation to this article, or if you require any assistance in respect of your promotional material.