Ford Motor Co. is lowering the stated fuel-economy rating of its C-Max Hybrid car by around 8.5 percent to 43 mpg from 47 mpg. The carmaker was bombarded with criticisms and lawsuits about the worse-than-expected fuel economy for a number of its new models, including the C-Max. The ratings are based on tests that the carmaker conducted and data it submitted to the United States Environment Protection Agency.
Window stickers for the C-Max say the hybrid is rated 47 mpg for city, highway and combined driving. Ford and EPA said the new rating on the C-Max will now be 43 mpg combined, 45 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. According to Ford, it will provide $550 to U.S. customers who purchased a C-Max and $325 to customers who have leased the vehicle -- with around 32,000 owners eligible for the payments. Ford will notify C-Max customers by mail while dealers will re-label those that are still unsold on lots.
The carmaker has sold 23,040 C-Max hybrids in the US in the first seven months of 2013, helping Ford hike its share of US alternative-powered vehicle market to 15 percent in January-July period, compared to just 4 percent in the same period in 2012. The EPA has disclosed that it will update test procedures used to assign fuel economy ratings to vehicles "to ensure that the requirements keep pace with industry trends and innovations in advanced high-efficiency vehicles."
It should be noted that some of EPA's current rules for fuel-economy testing and labeling were formulated in the 1970s. EPA said it will be working with consumer advocates, environmental organizations and carmaker to propose revised fuel-economy testing rules "to ensure that consumers are consistently given the accurate fuel economy information on which they have come to rely." The C-Max hybrid has a starting price of $25,995, including shipping.