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Ford C-MAX
Ford sued over hybrid vehicle efficiency claims

Ford is defending itself against a class-action lawsuit brought against it by McCuneWright, a law firm based in California, alleging false and misleading marketing campaigns for the 2013 C-MAX and Fusion hybrid vehicles. The law firm alleges fraud and negligent misrepresentation by Ford and filed the suit in US District Court Eastern District of California.

The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages including the reimbursement for the purchase price of new Ford hybrid vehicles. The main plaintiff in the suit is Richard Pitkin from Roseville, California. Pitkin purchased a C-Max Hybrid vehicle in October and alleges that he has only averaged 37 mpg during that time. That mileage is significantly lower than the EPA rating of 47 mpg.

"In its advertising and marketing campaign for the vehicles, Ford claimed that the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid achieved a class leading 47 Miles Per Gallon," part of the 17-page suit read. "These materials helped Ford achieve record sales for the first two months of C-MAX Hybrid sales, outselling its rival, hybrid sales leader Toyota, but there was a problem. These ads were false."
 
The Ford C-MAX and Fusion Hybrid, like many vehicles, are essentially built to “ace the EPA test”, so it can be very difficult for drivers to achieve the rated fuel economy numbers in the real world. For example, the highway portion of the EPA test stipulates that a vehicle should be able accelerate to a maximum highway cruising speed of 60 mph. Ford hybrids can operate at up to 62 mph on battery alone power if driven in the exact same manner as prescribed by the EPA. Once a driver crosses the 62 mph mark, however, the gasoline engine springs to life and the fuel economy drops.
 
Most major U.S. highways have speed limits of 65 mph or higher, and even if the speed limit is a more “hybrid friendly” 55 mph, most people likely cruise at 60 mph or higher. And one also has to remember that no hybrid can travel on battery power alone, indefinitely – the gasoline engine will eventually kick in to maintain cruising speed.


Ford Fusion Hybrid

Consumer Reports reviewed the C-MAX earlier this month and found it obtained 37 mpg overall with 35 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Similar findings with the Fusion Hybrid found that the vehicle achieve 39 mpg in testing overall.
 
Fuelly, a website that tracks fuel economy readings from everyday drivers, mirrors Consumer Reports’ findings and shows that 51 drivers are averaging just 39 mpg in the C-MAX. The Prius v, the main competitor to the C-MAX, is showing an average of 42.1 mpg from 219 drivers versus an EPA combined rating of 42 mpg.
 
Ford isn't the only automaker to find its fuel efficiency claims disputed in court. Hyundai was caught inflating fuel efficiency estimates and was forced to create new window stickers for the vehicle fleet reflecting more realistic efficiency claims.

Source: Detroit News



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By rika13 on 12/27/2012 10:07:41 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is that the EPA tests are still inaccurate. Our boat 2008 Impala gets better mileage than the EPA says it is supposed to because my roommate actually uses the cruise control. If you care about mileage, then keep your foot out of it, use cruise control, and such instead of doing big, smoky, fun burnouts when you leave a stop sign.




By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/27/2012 10:14:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you care about mileage, then keep your foot out of it, use cruise control, and such instead of doing big, smoky, fun burnouts when you leave a stop sign.


As I said in my post above, people who buy hybrids fit into the first part of your statement. They do not fit the mold of the latter part of your statement.

In essence, the client-base for the Fusion Hybrid/C-MAX SHOULD be getting EPA or better numbers out of their vehicles pretty easily. And to take it even further, people who use Fuelly are the most rabid MPG freaks out there. Even their averages don't come close to EPA.


By Roffles on 12/27/2012 1:31:48 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. It's all about driving technique. Maybe my car is an extreme example, but I drive a Lexus IS-F rated at 16/23 (18 combined) by the EPA. If you put the car in cruise control at 65mph on the freeway (the speed limit where I live), the car will easily give you 29-30mpg. But stomp on the throttle and it will drink gasoline like a pig. I've averaged 28mpg on some tanks and 14mpg on others and I wasn't surprised by either result. You have to be conscious of how you're driving.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/27/2012 2:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
What you say is true, but hybrid drivers tend to be the most fuel conscious drivers on the road. I think that is the whole issue -- even they can't hit the numbers.


By ElFenix on 12/28/2012 1:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
some of the guys over at c-max forums are starting to get the rated ratings as they learn more about how to drive the car.


By Voldenuit on 12/27/2012 3:04:57 PM , Rating: 2
Several reputable car review sites have tested the C-MAX and have all been unable to meet Ford's published EPA figures. It's especially damning when they all get the same results as the general public (~37-38 mpg) which is 10 mpg lower than Ford's claims.

Which is more likely, collusion on a massive scale by the general public, or Ford inflating mpg numbers to boost sales? Even if Ford is innocent in this matter (which I very much doubt), it is in the consumers' and industry's best interests that discrepancies such as this be investigated and punitive measures instituted to discourage future attempts to mislead the public.


By Dr of crap on 1/2/2013 10:24:49 AM , Rating: 2
REALLY - For how many years has the EPA stated mileage on the window stickers been looked at by people and laughed at or eyebrows raised in disbelief?

It is basically a "guideline", not a set in stone you WILL get this MPG number. There is NO WAY a testing setup could be constructed that would make every person get the stated mpg on the sticker.

Why weren't there law suits years ago?
Why now and why would ANYONE do it?
We are so sue happy and class action happy in this country now it's crazy. It's all about getting some cash in your pocket by using the courts - all crap! I'd never even think to take the car makers to court because of mpg that I couldn't get. Same as I'd not taking a gun maker to court because my kid was shot by a crazy guy! And yes that last one is happening!


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