More on the Subaru 5-star claim

Subaru adLast week I wrote about an ad that Subaru had placed in a magazine called Royal Auto here in Australia. It’s the magazine of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV).

I hadn’t seen the ad at the time of writing, but Turbin’s now scanned it and sent it to me. Click on it to enlarge.

Why post about it? In the ad, Subaru are making a claim that’s patently false. They’re claiming to be the only brand in Australia with a range full of ANCAP 5-star rated cars, which simply isn’t true. This claim ignores Saab’s 5-star rating on the 9-3 and 9-5 ranges (including the 9-3 convertible).

So can you go around making patently false claims like this in your advertisements? Only if someone lets you. I’ve emailed Saab Australia about this this morning and we’ll see if they take the matter any further.

I emailed Subaru through their website last week, and the response simply said that my query had been sent to the appropriate person. I’m still waiting to hear more.

I’d also be interested to hear if the RACV are willing to take issue with a full-page advertiser when that advertiser makes a false claim – so I’m emailing them, too.

Turbin and I will both keep you updated on this one as time passes.


Email sent through RACV’s website:

Hello RACV,

In the latest edition of Royal Auto, you published in ad by Subaru that claimed they had the only full range of cars rated as 5-star vehicles by ANCAP.

This is a false claim. Saab also have a full range of 5-star rated cars, including the 9-3 Convertible.

Would the RACV be willing to publish a correction with regard to this advertisement in a future issue and take action to ensure that the same advertisement is not published again?


Steven Wade

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  1. Nope. No 9-7x’s here. US, Canada and the occasional European import only, I believe.

    I would have driven and written them up by now if we had them, that’s for sure.

  2. There are a few car manufacturers with 5 Star safety ratings on all there models (Renault is another one).

    The reason they may get away with this one is that the a lot of the European cars aren’t actually tested to ANCAP, they are tested by EuroNCAP and ANCAP trusts those results.

    From ANCAP:
    The left-hand-drive European model was tested by EuroNCAP. Australasian specifications may vary and therefore models sold in Australasia might provide different levels of protection to those described on this page.

  3. G’day Brendan.

    Yep, Turbin and I have considered that and other scenarios in discussion. But they haven’t made any such distinction in the ad. All they say is that they’re the only ones with a full five star range at ANCAP.

    “How come we’re the only car brand in Australia with a five-star rating on every car?”

    If I go to ANCAP and look up Saab, I see a full five star range.

    All they’d need to clarify is to put in “…..tested by ANCAP….5 stars etc”.

    How’s that little Renault going, anyway?

  4. My Renault is going well, and doing as planned – not costing a lot to run and thus freeing up funds to continue my 99 Turbo restoration. The 99 Turbo will have a new gearbox by the end of January 🙂

    I was going to send you an email reminding you I’m in Hobart this coming weekend.

  5. Swade,

    This add has also appeared in the Queensland equivalent magazine. ANCAP only crash test the high selling cars, as from what I understand, the cars are usually not donated here and it costs a significant amount of money to test each car. As SAAB’s are not high sellers I doubt that they have tested both the 9-3 and 9-5, and Therefore would not have an “ANCAP” rating. So the claim would be true but just misleading, but that marketing.

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