Auto, tobacco, same fight |  The duty


As the attractiveness of light trucks on the roads is steadily increasing in the country, the Équiterre organization offers “take inspiration from the increasingly restrictive regulations surrounding the promotion of tobacco products” and campaigns against speeding at the wheel. in an attempt to reduce dependence on these gas guzzlers.

In 2020, four out of five new personal automobiles sold (79.9%) are in fact pickup trucks, minivans or SUVs. Countries have already started to regulate advertising promoting large gear deemed harmful to the environment.

The environmental organization Équiterre makes its antipub recommendation in a report released on Tuesday. The 30-page document is entitled Limitless. Automotive Advertising in Canada.

“The vehicles sold are heavier and consume more and more energy,” summarizes Andréanne Brazeau, mobility analyst for the organization based in Montreal. “However, advertising plays an important role in the consumption choices of these vehicles, even if we do not realize it. It’s actually quite a sneaky way to go. “

Ms. Brazeau is responsible for the study on advertising with research assistant Julie-Christine Denoncourt. The two researchers received methodological support from professors Verena Gruber (HEC) and Erick Lachapelle (Political Science) from UdeM.

The report speaks squarely about auto advertising as a “turbo-engine of consumption choices”. It also highlights the paradoxes of advertising messages from a printed corpus of 132 ads. For example, natural environments are used as a backdrop by focusing on adventure in wild regions, whereas these vehicles, on the contrary, contribute to destroying them and are moreover prohibited from off-road traffic.

“At the federal level, neither the standards nor the laws act upstream to regulate automobile advertising, summarizes the report. In addition, the industry has no specific code or law to comply with in matters of advertising, while other industries whose activities are harmful to the collective interest are subject to such rules. “

These observations and recommendations shock Robert Poëti, CEO of the Corporation of Quebec Automobile Dealers. “The terms used are excessive and do not consider all planetary manufacturers to improve technology and produce much better designed vehicles that emit much less greenhouse gases,” he says. In addition, Quebec is a model on the Canadian level for the purchase of plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles. “

The comparison with the tobacco laws puts him the most on edge. “Sometimes people in communication need to make gown effects, big statements to attract attention,” said Mr. Poëti, who was Minister of Transport (2014-2016). To go and compare the automotive industry, including the essential travel needs of citizens and the geographic specificity of Quebec, with the cigarette industry, I find it deplorable, I find it awkward. This is an inappropriate caricature. “

A heavy problem

The advertising report launches a series of surveys proposing to Understanding the rise of light trucks in Canada to reverse the trend (that’s his official name). The next versions will focus on the historical and socio-economic causes (the gasoline tax for example) explaining the growing popularity of vans but also on the motivations of consumers measured by surveys and public policies that can help to curb this “worrying trend” according to the analyst.

The study defines four types of light trucks: sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossovers, pick-ups and vans. They therefore differ from small light vehicles. The planet is passionate about the light truck whose sales increased by 60% between 2010 and 2018 in the world to now make up about 40% of the global car fleet. In Canada, the sale of light trucks grew 280% between 1990 and 2018.

“Transportation in Canada is one of only two sectors where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing,” explains Ms. Brazeau. The two causes of this increase are light trucks and freight transport. It is therefore very worrying: all the gains made with the sale of electric vehicles are canceled out by this increase. The other growing sector is energy, particularly oil production from the western tar sands.

Here again M. Poëti finds fault. He points out that some light trucks are really a lot (some weigh 3000 kg) and that people prefer them among other things for their four-wheel drive. He adds that vehicles are increasingly safer and that the number of road fatalities in Quebec has dropped from about 2,400 in the 1980s to nearly 400 now, as the fleet has doubled. He notes that the energy consumption information is all indicated in the documents given to customers by the dealers and in the specialized guides.

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