Ford faces suit over misleading mpg numbers of C-Max, Fusion hybrids

Article by Anita Panait, on December 27, 2012

Ford Motor Co. is facing a federal lawsuit alleging that the new C-Max and Fusion hybrids fail to deliver promised fuel economy figures. The carmaker’s 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid mid-sized sedan are EPA-rated at 47 mpg city/47 highway/47 combined. The lawsuit seeking class-action status, filed on Dec. 7 in the U.S.

District Court in the Eastern District of California, claims that Ford's marketing campaign emphasizing the vehicles' fuel economy is "false and misleading." The plaintiff, Richard Pitkin of Roseville, Calif., wants the carmaker to reimburse him and other vehicle owners the purchase price and to rescind sales of vehicles bought in California. The suit also wants Ford to stop its “false advertisements” and carry out an information campaign to rectify "misrepresentations and omissions.”

The law firm that filed the suit, McCuneWright in Redlands, Calif., is the same firm that filed class-action suits against Hyundai-Kia over vehicle mileage claims, as well as against Toyota over alleged unintended acceleration. A Ford spokesman said that the carmaker is aware of the lawsuit but cannot discuss pending litigation. Following initial road tests of the models, Consumer Reports magazine wrote this month that the real-world mileage of the C-Max Hybrid is 37 mpg, while that of Fusion Hybrid is 39 mpg.

According to Consumer Reports, the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid have the largest discrepancy between its overall mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA among any current models. Consumer Reports wrote that among current models, over 80 percent of the vehicles tested were within 2 mpg. Through November 2012, Ford has sold 8,999 C-Max Hybrids since its rollout in September 2012, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

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