Volvo Car UK - Emissions Equality

Wednesday 11th January, 2012
The year was 2010 and, with a PR budget some can only dream of, Volvo Car UK launched its Emissions Equality campaign. Aimed at "providing all motorists with a broader range of emissions information when they buy their next car" the new think tank would "help combat the UK’s rising problem of poor air quality."

As an active campaigner to reduce pollution and improve air quality I naturally took an interest and was impressed by its alleged proposals, although at the same time perhaps rather sceptical that it was just a thinly veiled marketing campaign with the aim of convincing the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to exempt its vehicles from the London Congestion Charge.

Sadly, as an ecologist, Volvo Car UK truly let me down. As soon as they managed to turn Boris around, and its particulate emitting diesel cars were exempted from the charge, the campaign seemed to completely lose focus. Worst of all, the Emissions Equality app that they had launched lay abandoned in the middle of the iTunes store without an update.

In March 2011, I called them out on this situation in my post entitled Emissions Inequality. I explained about the campaign, its apparent lack of focus and the fact that the app was completely useless to new buyers as it contained only very old data - despite daily updates being available from the VCA that take into account all new car models that are launched.

I received a fairly prompt response from both Jay Negley at Redspy (who developed the app whilst running the Clean Green Cars website promoted within it) and Duncan Forrester from Volvo Car UK who informed me that an update would hopefully be available soon. In March 2011, the month I wrote my inequality post, the app was indeed updated.

Fast forward to January 2012 and there have been dozens, probably hundreds of unique car models released since then. Car buyers may be keen to compare the emissions of these new vehicles with others that are on sale, in order to help reduce some 50,000 premature deaths a year that are caused by air pollution. (Source: Volvo Car UK).

So what will the Emissions Equality Think Tank offer them in 2012?

1) The application has not been updated since I last queried it in March 2011 - almost one year ago.

2) The Emissions Equality Facebook page hasn't received an update since July 2010.

3) Volvo Car UK hasn't released any information on the topic since October 2010, when they were celebrating their victory in changing the London Congestion Charge rules.

So, is Emissions Equality a campaign to help improve air quality and reduce all types of pollution from vehicles in the UK? Or is it just a long forgotten Volvo marketing campaign? You decide.

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