Ad Attacks Volvos Environmental Performance Failure to reduce greenhouse gas pollution counters "green" image; relationship with Ford called into question

Ad Attacks Volvos Environmental Performance Failure to reduce greenhouse gas pollution counters “green” image; relationship with Ford called into question


Russell Long, 415-544-0790, x 18
Danielle Fugere, 415-544-0790, x 15

San Francisco , CA Bluewater Network — a division of Friends of the Earth, today published an advertisement sharply critical of Volvo’s environmental performance. The ad, appearing in The New York Times (exclusive nationwide edition, Saturday, July 23), and Mother Jones online, rebukes Volvo for following in parent company Ford’s footsteps – which popularized SUVs worldwide — by introducing a lineup of new SUVs just three years after being purchased by Ford in 1999, and for offering cars with very poor fuel mileage ratings.

The ad begins with the headline: “Is Your Volvo Truly Safe?” An image of a Volvo pulling over a very large tree with a rope suggests an opposite conclusion. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most efficient Volvo is rated at an average 26.1 miles per gallon, less than half that of the best performing four-door sedan on the market. One major U.S. consumer publication suggests that Volvo’s best performing vehicle achieves even less than the EPA ratings — a mere 23 mpg – with most Volvos performing considerably worse. Parent company Ford has the worst fuel mileage and highest per unit greenhouse gas emissions among major automakers.

Russell Long, founder of Bluewater Network, said, “Volvo has always been known for environmental leadership, so it’s a shame to see them falling so far behind other automakers under Ford’s dominance. Introducing a new SUV lineup in 2002, and making virtually no progress in raising their vehicle fuel mileage average over the past seven years has been a shock. We expected more of them.” Long continued, “Today, the best performing four-door sedans get more than double the mileage of the best Volvo. Volvo can and must do better.”

The ad asks readers to send a letter to Volvo CEO Frederik Arp through Bluewater Network’s website ( to demand that the company stand up to its parent Ford, and return to its mission of better protecting the environment.

The Volvo ad is part of Bluewater Network’s campaign against Ford Motors to force the company to improve its environmental performance. Last year, Bluewater published a series of ads in the The New York Times, The Nation, Mother Jones, and other media outlets targeting Ford Motors for lobbying Congress against raising the nation’s fuel mileage standards, and for breaking their pledge to increase SUV fuel mileage by 25 percent from 2000 to 2005. One ad depicted the CEO of Ford Motors, Bill Ford, with a Pinocchio nose for breaking that pledge in 2003. (See ads at

In 2001, Bluewater conceived and crafted the California legislation reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, ten other states have pursued the same course. Ford filed suit against California in 2005, along with other automakers, to overturn the law. If they succeed, other states will also be prevented from adopting the California law.