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The lawsuit seeks at least $5 million in damages

Customers who've purchased certain new Ford hybrid vehicles in Pennsylvania are suing the automaker, saying that its fuel-efficiency claims are false

Pennsylvania owners of Ford's 2013 Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid cars are suing the Detroit auto company because their vehicles are falling far below the advertised 47 mpg. In fact, they've fallen as short as 17 to 21 percent below that figure.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Pennsylvania owners of the two vehicles in Philadelphia federal court, seeks damages of at least $5 million and says Ford has violated the state’s unfair-trade practices and consumer protection laws.

“Plaintiffs are some of the tens of thousands of consumers who purchased a Fusion Hybrid or C-Max Hybrid, only to be stuck with under-performing, less valuable vehicles that inflict higher fuel costs on their owners,” according to the complaint.

Back in December 2012, Consumer Reports pointed out the inaccuracies of both the 2013 Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid cars. According to its testing, the C-Max Hybrid received 35/38/37 mpg for city/highway/combined and the Fusion Hybrid had 35/41/39 mpg.

At that time, Ford responded to Consumer Reports' claims saying that mileage varies among hybrids. 

"Early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg," said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood. "This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary."

While all vehicles must undergo the EPA test for fuel efficiency, the test isn't actually administered by the government agency. Instead, automakers perform the test and the EPA reviews it. In many cases, factors like temperature and speed result in gas mileage being lower than the EPA sticker.

But after Ford was called out for coming up with inaccurate fuel ratings for its two hybrids, the EPA stepped in to do a test of its own. 

In another round of testing of the C-Max Hybrid in March, Wayne Gerdes found that it only achieved 35.537 miles per gallon over 360 highway miles. But in the city, he was able to achieve 52 miles per gallon over 22.8 miles of driving, which is better than the EPA promises.

Source: Bloomberg

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By btc909 on 4/26/2013 2:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA needs to test ALL vehicles. Not just 10-15%. Nice marketing scam, we get 47/47/47 on this vehicle. I liked the C-Max, I laughed at the C-Max Energi when I opened the rear hatch. I'd consider a C-Max but you better sell me the car at invoice and discount that price several thousands of dollars. I know if I owned a C-Max I would only get in the high 30's combined.

By Mint on 4/26/2013 4:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
No it doesn't, as long as liars are punished enough. Hyundai took a beating to its reputation for misreporting its numbers.

Nobody selling any significant numbers of a car model will be able to get away with lying. There's something very fishy about the C-Max numbers.

By corduroygt on 4/26/2013 5:16:49 PM , Rating: 1
The government obviously has the resources to crash test ALL mass production cars sold here, surely testing their MPG before crashing them shouldn't be too difficult or costly?

By Rukkian on 4/29/2013 2:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the government does crash testing. Most of the reports I see are from the IIHS (Insurance Institue of Highway Safety)

By Nutzo on 4/26/2013 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
I also considered the C-Max, decided otherwise when I found out it didn't come with a spare tire.

One of the reasons the C-Max and Fussion do so good on the EPA test is because they have a higher all electic speed than the Prius and most other non-plugin hybrids. The Prius is limited to around 45 MPH, while the Fords can go up to 65 MPH.
The EPA Highway test averages around 50 MPH, so this gives the Ford an advantage, It's almost like Ford selected the higher top speed to do better on the EPA test, but in real life driving it doesn't make much difference.

Most people drive much faster on the highway (65-75 MPH), so Highway driving comes down to the efficency of the ICE and arrowdynamics. Ford can't quite match Toyota on this efficency, so they end up with similar or worse mileage.

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