Ford has started mailing checks - $550 for buyers and $325 for lessees - to customers this month to compensate them for its move to lower the estimated fuel economy for the C-Max Hybrid. The checks are being sent to around 32,000 customers who acquired the C-Max before the carmaker lowered the vehicle’s estimated fuel economy from 47 mpg in combined city and highway driving to 43 mpg.
Along with the checks is a letter from Ford group marketing manager for electrification C.J. O'Donnell explaining the restatement and thanking customers for buying the vehicle. Ford restated the C-Max fuel economy on Aug. 15, 2013 and at the same time, the carmaker said it would tweak the engine software on existing C-Maxes to improve the fuel economy.
Ford dealers have implemented the upgrades, which were already incorporated on C-Maxes built after July 2013. The carmaker has also disclosed engineering modifications that will improve fuel economy on the 2014 C-Max, which will be launched this year
Jan-Michael McClintic, a C-Max owner, told Automotive News that he is concerned about the resale value for the 2013 C-Max. “Who's going to want a 2013 C-Max when the 2014s have better mileage?” McClintic quipped, comparing 2013 C-Max owners to guinea pigs. Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for Kelley Blue Book, remarked that the fuel economy downgrade so far has not significantly affected the vehicle's residual values.
He said that they think the restatement of the 2013 C-Max’s mpg numbers is going to hurt residual values, adding that they are taking a wait and see approach to the matter. Ibara said that they base their action on their observation during the Hyundai-Kia restatement in 2012.
Ibara remarked that they are expecting a 47 percent residual value for a base level C-Max after three years, based on 15,000 miles per year. However, some customers of the C-Max with overstated fuel economy of 47 mpg city/47 highway/47 combined say that Ford’s payments don’t compensate for the worse-than-advertised fuel economy. For McClintic, he thinks that he probably paid $8,000 more than he planned.