Ford hit with lawsuit over mpg claims for C-Max, Fusion hybrids
Ford Motor Co. faces a federal lawsuit that contends the new C-Max and Fusion hybrids fail to deliver promised fuel economy claims.
Ford's 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid mid-sized sedan are EPA rated at 47 mpg city/47 highway/47 combined. But the lawsuit seeking class-action status, filed Dec. 7 in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, says Ford's marketing campaign highlighting the vehicles' fuel economy is "false and misleading."
The plaintiff, Richard Pitkin of Roseville, Calif., wants Ford to reimburse him and other owners the purchase price and rescind sales of vehicles purchased in California.
"We are aware of the matter but cannot discuss pending litigation," a Ford spokesman wrote in an e-mail today.
The suit, filed by law firm McCuneWright in Redlands, Calif., also wants Ford to halt what the suit calls false advertisements and carry out an informational campaign to correct what it calls "misrepresentations and omissions."
The same law firm has filed class-action suits against Hyundai-Kia over vehicle mileage claims and against Toyota over alleged unintended acceleration.
The C-Max Hybrid's real-world mileage is 37 mpg, or around 21 percent lower than Ford's claims, while the Fusion Hybrid came up 8 mpg short at 39 mpg, Consumer Reports magazine said this month after conducting initial road tests of the models.
Consumer Reports said the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid have the largest discrepancy between "our overall mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we've seen among any current models."
"Among current models, more than 80 percent of the vehicles we've tested are within 2 mpg," the influential consumer magazine wrote.
Through November, Ford has sold 8,999 C-Max Hybrids after the vehicle went on sale in September, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The automaker does not break out sales figures for the Fusion Hybrid.
Ford is talking with the EPA about how it tests fuel economy performance. The EPA is reviewing Consumer Reports' findings.
Raj Nair, Ford's product development chief, said earlier this month that hybrids are sensitive to driving styles, which can lower performance by as much as 17 mpg.
Last month, Hyundai and Kia admitted to selling more than 900,000 U.S. vehicles with overstated fuel economy ratings in the 2011-13 model years. The affiliated Korean automakers will compensate owners for the faulty claims.
The two companies also will lower the fuel economy estimates on most of their 2012 and 2013 models, the companies said in a joint statement.
Hyundai is retracting a claim that it leads the industry with four models that get 40 mpg in highway driving. The estimated highway fuel economy of most 2013 Accent, Veloster and Elantra models will fall to 37 or 38 mpg.
The combined average fuel economy for Hyundai and Kia models will fall to 26 mpg from 27 mpg for the 2012 model year, the companies said.
With the adjustments, neither company will market a model that achieves 40 mpg or more on the highway as previously advertised.
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