An advertorial article published in the Guardian about a new Jaguar car has been rebuked by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The regulator said the story was “irresponsible” because it was likely to encourage unsafe driving practices.
The text had described drivers using in-built smart technology to check their calendars and use other apps while on the road.
A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said it was “disappointed”.
“For all of the connected car technologies we offer our customers, we will always offer what is safe to do whilst driving,” he added.
“The hands-free technology in the Jaguar XE has been developed and tested to allow users to put their phone safely and legally away, and give priority to focus on the driving experience.”
The ASA acknowledged that using a hands-free mobile phone was not illegal and that the article had stated that the technologies in question could be used “without compromising safety”.
But it noted that the UK’s Highway Code states that the use of hands-free kit can be a distraction, and that motorists should stop to make or take calls.
“The advertorial featured the headline claim that ‘drive time is no longer downtime’,” it said in its judgement.
“We considered readers would interpret this to mean that drivers could now perform various other tasks while driving.”
The ASA also called attention to an “early adopter” of the car interviewed in the piece.
Prof David Bailey was quoted as saying he could use apps through the car’s infotainment system.
“If I need to do an interview while I am going somewhere I can do it on the move and don’t have to stop,” he added.
The Aston Business School lecturer was surprised when the BBC told him of the ruling.
“I was not told that I was being interviewed for an advertorial, and the comments were part of a much longer interview about driverless cars and the future,” he said.
“They were certainly not intended to encourage any behaviour that might compromise safety”.
A spokeswoman for the Guardian did not respond to questions about the use of Prof Bailey’s comments, but issued a brief statement.
“We received a complaint about the advertorial in question and consequently withdrew the ad and have not republished it,” the statement said.
“We accept the ASA’s ruling.”
The authority has also told Jaguar Land Rover that its future advertising must not encourage drivers to perform tasks that might distract their attention from the road.