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A strong link between advertising and large vehicle sales shown in a new study by Équiterre

Montreal, March 30, 2021 - A new report from Équiterre highlights the power and influence of automotive advertising in Canada, including advertising for large fuel-inefficient vehicles, which represented 78% of new personal vehicle sales in 2020. This proportion has been growing steadily for nearly a decade.

Part of a series entitled The Rise of Light-Duty Trucks in Canada: Reversing the Trend, this first report recommends that governments implement restrictive and ambitious public policies for the automotive industry in order to curb the increasing number of gas-guzzling vehicles on the roads and the resulting negative impacts on society and the environment.

“Vehicles are getting larger, heavier and more fuel-inefficient - an alarming trend that is undermining our governments’ climate goals. To reverse this trend, advertising must be more tightly controlled,” states Andréanne Brazeau, Équiterre’s Mobility Analyst.

“It doesn't make sense to allow advertising for gas-guzzlers when the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles will be banned in a few years,” she adds. “Many countries have shown leadership in addressing the issue. The United Kingdom, Belgium and New Zealand have already made strides by regulating automotive advertising.”

Équiterre’s report raises three important problems about automotive advertising that are fueling the rise in the purchase of large vehicles:

  • The content of the ads does not accurately portray the individual and societal costs, the safety issues or the environmental impacts of these vehicles.
  • Light-duty trucks are overly represented in ads in Canadian newspapers and magazines, compared to ads for smaller cars: 79% of automotive ads promote large vehicles.
  • In 2019, the automotive sector was the second-largest investor in digital advertising in Canada with a share of 19% or $1.6 billion, just behind retail, which had a 21% share.

A public health and safety issue

What can be done to fix the problem? "First and foremost, we must identify the proliferation of SUVs and other gas-guzzlers as a public health and safety issue, like we did with smoking, speeding and advertising directed at children," explains Andréanne Brazeau.

See an illustrated summary of the report and Équiterre’s recommendations
View the complete dossier on the proliferation of large vehicles and how we can reverse the trend

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For more information:
Anthony Côté Leduc, Media Relations
514 605-2000
acoteleduc@equiterre.org

Financial Support
To carry out this research, Équiterre received funding under the Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The opinions expressed in this document are not necessarily those of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada or of the Government of Canada.

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