Toyota could take legal action against the Vote Leave campaign after its logo was used in promotional material for the UK’s forthcoming EU referendum.
A leaflet delivered to voters used Toyota's logo as part of a collage of emblems belonging to companies that, the campaign said, would stay in the UK irrespective of the referendum result.
In a statement, Toyota Motor Europe said it strongly objected and was considering a formal legal complaint over unauthorised use of its trademark. It added that the logo’s inclusion could mislead readers into thinking that the company endorsed the Vote Leave campaign.
Above: Vote Leave pamphlet allegedly misused Toyota's trademark
Toyota has previously said it believes UK membership of the EU would be best for its operations but has declined to endorse either side’s official campaign.
“It’s not just a small regional issue. It’s a UK-wide official pamphlet,” said Chris O’Keefe, Toyota Europe's senior manager of external affairs.
“People raised it with us and Vote Leave hadn’t asked for our permission. We think it gives the impression, therefore, that somehow we are endorsing or supporting the campaign, whereas in actual fact we said back in February that, as a business, our preference was to remain.
"But we’ve agreed not to take any part in the campaign and that’s why we felt it was an inappropriate use of our logo. Because we’ve had a lot of questions and misunderstandings, we felt we needed to make a public statement just to re-clarify our position.”
O’Keefe said Toyota had been in communication with Vote Leave about the issue but declined to comment on the outcome.
Vote Leave has so far not responded to requests from Autocar for comment.