Ad Nauseam: Holy Rollover Risk, Batmom!!

Lexus has suspended sales of its GX 460 after Consumer Reports issued a "don’t buy" warning earlier this week. Apparently the luxury SUV’s electronic "stability control" system can fail to correct drivers taking turns too quickly, resulting in a rollover risk. Times car blog Wheels reports:

Mr. Champion [Consumer Reports auto testing director] said that the problem came to light at the magazine’s test track in East Haddam, Conn., while looking for "any nasty habits that might catch a driver out." He explained, "We want a car to be benign."

Speaking of nasty habits, the problem might well have come to light during this commercial shoot. Far from presenting the GX 460 as benign, Lexus hawks it as the nimble vehicle every upwardly-mobile mom needs to whip through city streets teeming with urban dangers (and cleared of urban traffic, natch). Strap in, precious, we’re goin’ to lacrosse practice!

So we have a carmaker promoting its product as a street-legal racing machine, and a consumer watchdog group telling the public it should not be driven as advertised — or better yet, not driven at all.

We’ve tapped this vein before, but until "Closed Course/Professional Driver/Do Not Attempt" marketing goes the way of the "healthy" cigarette ad, supposed fail-safe features — mostly designed to protect those inside the car — will continue to be so much window dressing. Like those pedestrians in Batmom’s peripheral vision.

  • Bolwerk

    There’s nothing new about car commercials playing on suburban narcissism.

    But urban areas lose a lot of livability cred because nobody addresses the deception of more safety in non-urban areas. Your kids’ chances of dying in one of those vehicles is much higher than dying in, say, a manhole explosion – or a botched mugging.

  • In the UK the Advertising Standards Authority can have adverts removed if they break their rules, and for a persistent offender, require all adverts to be pre-approved.

    There are rules about celebrating speeding, which Mini fell foul of
    http://www.adpunch.org/entry/bmw-mini-ad-banned-by-asa-in-uk-for-encouraging-speeding/

    I complained about a different BMW advert, one which implied that SatNav was reliable. Sadly, despite my qualification as computer scientist and citation of many ACM-Risks Digest-documented failures, they dismissed my complaint as I was the only person to complain about the advert. Which goes to show: everyone has too much faith in GPS
    http://bristolcars.blogspot.com/2009/10/bmw-no-joy-gps-is-spof.html

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