Ford Motor Co. is facing a suit in United States District Court in Philadelphia filed by Pennsylvania vehicle owners who claim that the carmaker’s hybrid models failed to deliver promised fuel-efficiency numbers. According to a complaint filed Tuesday, the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford C-Max Hybrid models provide worse fuel economy than the advertised figure of 47 miles per gallon.
Car owners alleged that inaccurate representations allowed Ford to falsely claim that those models outperformed rival models. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs are “some of the tens of thousands of consumers” who bought a Fusion Hybrid or C-Max Hybrid, only to be stuck with underperforming and less valuable vehicles that impose higher fuel costs on owners.
The Ford Fusion was the sixth best-selling model in the US in the first three quarters of 2013. In March, Fusion was being sold faster and at higher prices than the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.
Ford advertised the hybrid version of the Fusion as having several of the same features as luxury cars like Mercedes C350, but with double the fuel economy and a sticker price of less than $17,000. Todd Nissen, a Ford spokesman, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail that the carmaker’s fuel economy labels are generated in accordance with EPA procedures and protocols.
The complaint said Ford knew or should have known that the hybrid versions of the C-Max and Fusion don’t deliver advertised fuel ratings. The complaint also said that Ford uses a “driveability” test facility to simulate real-world conditions, adding that the Fusion and C-Max hybrids were also equipped with a SmartGauge on-board computer that displays current fuel economy.