The auto industry is notorious for stretching the boundaries of acceptable advertising practices.
From price wars among dealers from the same auto maker (see post) to price promises that aren't really promises (see post) to mice type that no one can possibly read (don't get me started!), this is a new low.
BMW (who otherwise does everything right if you ask me) is running a campaign to promote their 2010 323i. This ad CLEARLY promotes the 323i, and the 323i only. You can tell this by the headlines and copy, and they even go so far as to break down the lease rates for the 323i specifically.
But the image, which is predominant, is of the 335i. If you look closely (click image below to enlarge), there is a line of mice type (don't get me going!) that admits they are showing a picture of the 335i!! How can they be allowed to do that?! The 335i looks better, performs better, costs more, and has clearly different lease rates.
Now, the 323i is from the same family as the 335i, but that doesn't excuse this manipulative advertising practice.
They need to advertise more responsibly.
People that aren't car fanatics like me or that don't pay as much attention to advertising as I do would understandably go to the dealership looking for a car that looks like the 335i for the price of the 323i. Such a car does not exist. "Sorry consumer. But since you're here, why don't I put you into this more expensive car?" Oh, sorry, it's more like "What do I need to do to get you into this more expensive car?"
I know they're legally allowed to do this, but they shouldn't.
They're not the only perpetrators, but I just happen to be picking on them because they are advertising fairly heavily.