DETROIT -- Ford began mailing checks to customers this month to compensate them for the company's lowering of the estimated fuel economy for the C-Max Hybrid.
The checks -- $550 for buyers and $325 for lessees -- are being mailed in batches to about 32,000 customers who bought the C-Max before Ford dropped the estimated fuel economy to 43 mpg in combined city and highway driving from 47 mpg.
The checks are accompanied by a letter from C.J. O'Donnell, Ford group marketing manager for electrification, explaining the restatement and thanking customers for buying the vehicle.
Ford restated the C-Max fuel economy on Aug. 15. At the same time, the company said it would tweak the engine software on existing C-Maxes to improve the fuel economy. The upgrades have been performed by Ford dealers.
C-Maxes made after July incorporate the upgrades. Ford also has announced engineering changes that will improve fuel economy on the 2014 C-Max, which goes on sale this year.
C-Max owner Jan-Michael McClintic, information technology director for MaxFlight Corp., a flight simulator design company in Toms River, N.J., said: "What I'm concerned about is resale value for this model year. Who's going to want a 2013 C-Max when the 2014s have better mileage? It's like we were guinea pigs."
But so far, the fuel economy downgrade has not significantly affected the vehicle's residual values, says Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for Kelley Blue Book.