Ford MPG Lawsuit Filed In Court


Sound the sad trombone, because once again there is a lawsuit over the failure of drivers to achieve the listed EPA mpg numbers. This time it is Ford which is facing the wrath of angry car buyers, spearheaded by a buyer out of California who wants the Blue Oval to reimburse him for his purchase while ceasing sales tactics highlighting the 2013 Ford Fusion and C-Max Hybrid’s 47 mpg rating.

There have been grumblings almost since the two next-gen Ford hybrid vehicles went on sale in September. By November, Consumer Reports was hinting that the mpg ratings weren’t holding up in the real world, and a scathing report declared that the two Fords had the largest rating-to-real-world mpg discrepancy in the magazine’s history. Other outlets reported similarly-disappointing numbers, though a few magazines came awfully close to the 47/47/47 rating.

The lawsuit was filed by the McCuneWright law firm on behalf of Richard Pitkin, who wants Ford to rescind sales in California and reimburse him and other buyers for their faulty hybrids. Furthermore, Mr. Pitkin wants Ford to carry out a corrective information campaign correcting “misrepresentations and corrections.”

Honda was the first automaker to feel the heat from customers who felt like they weren’t given the full hybrid experience when the Civic Hybrid recieved a software downgrade that severely affected mpgs. The plaintiff initially won her suit in small claims court, before the ruling was appealed and overturned this past spring.

Then came Hyundai/Kia, which was also sued for failing to deliver vehicles that lived up to mpg claims. The Koreans opted to reimburse owners an amount related to how far they drove as well as lower the mpg numbers, which seemed to placate most drivers who probably never really noticed a problem in the first place.

But Ford has a much larger problem on hand. While their argument that driving styles can adversely affect mpg is legitimate, the huge mpg discrepancy and relative newness of both the Fusion and C-Max could really hurt the brand going forward.

Even if it turns out that drivers with low mpg have a lead foot (and you can bet they’ll be checking out the onboard blackbox to get an idea of how Mr. Pitkin drivers), the damage done to Ford’s reputation could cause consumers to think twice before buying a Blue Oval product. Probably not how Ford wanted to start the New Year.

Source: Automotive News

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • The MGP discrepancy / law suit situation described could not arise in the UK as the responsibility for official testing rests with the government. This being the case, there is neither the incentive nor the opportunity for manufacturers to falsify their declared MPG figures. The official MPG figures are also stated to be a guide rather than a definitive figure that owners can expect in real world driving.

    However even with this independent testing methodology, there are weaknesses in the methodology which result in some declared MPG figures differing significantly from real world MPG recorded by drivers on the road.

    My guess is that the two biggest factors likely to apply are

    1. Manufacturers setting up the car – engine management settings, gear ratios etc. in order to obtain a good rating using known official test methodologies. Where this applies, official MPG figures are likely to be “best case” with any variation in driving style, or mix of roads from official methodology resulting in higher fuel consumption.

    2. Poorly designed testing methodology – BBC testing indicates that some models including “the Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion and the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4” may have significantly poorer real world than test MPG. This may possibly reflect a methodological weakness which give particularly large discrepancies for certain kinds of stop start and hybrid technologies,

  • Mark w

    This actually hints at a corporate culture problem at ford. Sales pitch first , engineering second , no wonder it only took 500 mill to develop the cmax
    It still only half done ! The good news is the volt and other real high mpg are pushing em … So something good will eventually roll out of gord too.

  • Shouldn’t they be suing the EPA? They are the ones that define the test cycle.

  • Ford C-Max Hybrid Lawsuit: C-Max Sold by Hyundai! Not Ford! I didn’t know.

  • I don’t understand why the car company themselves gets to say what the MPG is…


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