Monday, December 12, 2011

Should Car Ads Carry a Health Warning?

As with all advertising, car ads sometimes seem to promise much more than the product they are promoting can actually deliver. Along with the glossy images of sleek, modern machines there is usually information on all of the added extras you can get with the car and how you can pay for the whole package using car finance offered by the manufacturer's dealers.

Few potential customers, however, take the time to check the details of the car finance on offer. Although often superficially attractive, a little research will often reveal that much better deals are available from other loan providers.

What buyers do expend time and effort on is the search for the best price, with the biggest discount, for the car they want to buy. Sometimes, the deal is even made on the basis of a free tank of fuel being thrown in by the dealer.

This kind of discount or small extra incentive can pale into insignificance when compared to the cost of the car finance used to buy the vehicle. A percentage point difference in interest rates, spread over the length of the loan, can make an enormous difference to the overall cost of the car.

Car ads, of course, do not labour this point. In fact, they don't mention it at all. The question of whether these ads should carry a health warning should perhaps first address this issue. It can be argued that customers should be told that better finance deals are available elsewhere, with savings potentially in the thousands.

Aside from the problem of getting the best loan, customers might also want to take into account the other concerns surrounding cars. Although car ads do contain carbon dioxide emissions figures, they are usually buried in the small print.

Given the worrying state of the world's climate, with global warming now a real concern, these figures should perhaps feature much more prominently in car ads. Emissions from cars and other vehicles amount to a significant proportion of the carbon released into the atmosphere every year.

Most governments around the world now accept that their citizens should be encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the main ways they could do this is to buy vehicles that are more fuel-efficient than the gas guzzlers many still prefer.

Even a small increase in sales of fuel-efficient cars would have an effect on carbon emissions, given the millions of cars sold all over the world every year.

The justification for health warnings on other products, such as cigarettes, is that they really do damage the health of those that buy them. The same argument could be applied to cars.

The effect of cars on people's health may not be as obvious, but in the long term it could be said to be as serious. An increase in global temperatures to the level predicted could result in millions of deaths.

Climate experts also suggest that there will be food shortages, rising sea levels and the extinction of many species.

Health warnings on car ads can also be justified by looking at the amount of money spent by car manufacturers on advertising every year. It dwarfs the amount spent by governments promoting reductions in carbon emissions.

Compulsory warnings, therefore, would help to rebalance the level of information provided to consumers about the dangers of global warming and the impact of cars on this pressing problem.

Car manufacturers have been forced over the years, often reluctantly, to make their customers' safety a priority. Taking this idea further by making them inform consumers of the consequences of buying particular kinds of vehicle seems like a logical next step.

Health warnings on car ads could help to protect people's bank balances, by providing information on alternative car finance deals. They could also help to protect the planet by giving more details on the environmental impact of cars.

Article provided by MoneySupermarket. Go online to find the best rates for on loans or car finance to fund your perfect and, preferably, environmentally friendly car.