Ford was sued by Pennsylvania car owners who said its hybrid models don’t deliver on fuel-efficiency claims.
Ford’s 2013 Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid models provide significantly worse fuel economy than the advertised 47 miles per gallon, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Philadelphia. The inaccurate representations allowed Ford to falsely claim that those models outperformed competing vehicles, according to the car owners.
The Fusion, redesigned by Ford late last year, was the sixth best-selling model in the U.S. through March. Last month the model was selling from dealer lots faster and at higher prices than Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry and Honda Motor Co.’s Accord. The hybrid version is advertised as having many of the same features as luxury cars such as the Mercedes C350, with double the fuel economy and a sticker price that’s about $17,000 less.
“Ford’s fuel economy labels are generated in accordance with EPA procedures and protocols,” Todd Nissen, a Ford spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. He declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying that the company doesn’t discuss pending litigation.
Ford said in December that it’s talking to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about how it tests fuel economy performance on new vehicles amid reports that its hybrids fell short of mileage promises. Nissen said that the company agrees with the EPA “that hybrid fuel economy performance industry wide is far more variable compared to conventional models.”
“We are open to a dialogue with the agencies to further improve the process for generating fuel economy labels,” Nissen said in the statement.
The lawsuit, which seeks damages of at least $5 million, accuses Ford of fraud and violating the state’s unfair-trade practices and consumer protection laws.
For the record, in a very careful study during my review, I found the C-Max to achieve 44.9 miles per gallon in over 400 miles of mixed driving.