LONDON (Reuters) - Carmaker Toyota (7203.T) said it could make a legal complaint against the official Brexit campaign for using its logo in leaflets, which the Japanese firm said might give the impression it backed Britain leaving the EU.
On one “Vote Leave” flyer, Toyota’s logo appeared next to those of five other major companies including Unilever and automakers Nissan (7201.T) and Vauxhall (GM.N) with the message: “Major employers ... have all said they’ll stay in the UK whatever the result of the referendum.”
Toyota, which built more than one in 10 of Britain’s 1.6 million new cars last year, said in February it believed a vote on June 23 to stay in the bloc would be better for its operations and long-term competitiveness.
The firm said on Thursday that use of the logo could “mislead the reader into thinking that Toyota endorses the Vote Leave campaign” and that it could take action against “unauthorized use of our trademarks.”
Consumer goods maker Unilever (ULVR.L) has also complained to the “Vote Leave” campaign over the use of its name and logo.
Unilever said the use of its logo was a “complete misrepresentation” of its position and it planned to complain to Britain’s electoral watchdog the Electoral Commission.
“We weren’t consulted or asked if we were happy for our name to appear. If we had been, we would never have allowed this to happen,” a spokesman said in a statement. “Our position couldn’t be clearer. We firmly support Britain remaining.”
Vote Leave did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Reuters.
Britain’s overwhelmingly foreign-owned car industry has spoken out in favor of continued British membership of the EU, which allows it to benefit from tariff-free access to the single market and the free movement of people within the world’s biggest trading bloc.
Reporting by Costas Pitas, Martinne Geller and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison