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Consumer Reports says the Ford C-Max gets 21 percent lo... Consumer Reports says the Ford C-Max gets 21 percent lower fuel economy than Ford claims. (Ford)
Ford Motor Co. is the latest car maker to face criticism and litigation over allegedly false advertising claims about fuel economy ratings.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker faces a federal lawsuit charging the new C-Max and Fusion hybrids vehicles fail to deliver promised fuel economy claims.

Ford's 2013 C-Max Hybrid, an all new brand Ford hopes will challenge Toyota's Prius, and the Fusion Hybrid mid-sized sedan are EPA rated at 47 mpg city/47 highway/47 combined. But the lawsuit seeking class-action status, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, says Ford's marketing campaign touting the vehicles' fuel economy is "false and misleading."

The plaintiff, Richard Pitkin of Roseville, Calif., wants Ford to reimburse him and other owners the purchase price and rescind sales of vehicles purchased in California.

A Ford spokesperson said the company is aware of the suit, but added that the company cannot comment on pending litigation.

The suit was filed by law firm McCuneWright in Redlands, Calif., which also recently sued Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia over false mileage claims. Those companies recently agreed to reimburse consumers who bought the vehicles named in the suit.

The lawyers and plaintiff have a powerful ally in Consumer Reports Magazine. The C-Max Hybrid's real-world mileage is 37 mpg, or around 21 percent lower than Ford's claims, while the Fusion Hybrid came up 8 mpg short at 39 mpg, Consumer Reports magazine said this month after conducting initial road tests of the models.

The influential magazine said the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid have the largest discrepancy between "our overall mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we've seen among any current models."

"Among current models, more than 80 percent of the vehicles we've tested are within 2 mpg," the magazine wrote.

Ford officials have confirmed it is talking with the EPA about how it tests fuel economy performance. And the EPA is reviewing Consumer Reports' findings.

Last month, Hyundai and Kia admitted to selling more than 900,000 U.S. vehicles with overstated fuel economy ratings in the 2011-13 model years. The two companies, which share ownership in Korea, as well as engineering resources, said they will lower the fuel economy estimates on most of their 2012 and 2013 models.

It is a big blow to both Hyundai/Kia and Ford to have their MPG claims challenged. Both companies have said over the last few years that class leading fuel economy equates to overall perception of quality in the minds of consumers. Hyundai is now retracting a claim that it leads the industry with four models that get 40 mpg in highway driving. The estimated highway fuel economy of most 2013 Accent, Veloster and Elantra models will fall to 37 or 38 mpg.

With the adjustments, neither company will market a model that achieves 40 mpg or more on the highway as previously advertised.


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  • 227 Comments
      supersargee6
      • 2 Years Ago
      so We Love Toyota, sorry, I mean Consumer Reports, is at it again. Those poor innocents at Toyota who are not responsible for all the deaths and screwed up lives due to the low quality accelerator issues, which they lied about, tried to cover up, and ultimately refused to take responsibility for, are pushing their good friends at CR to find something to draw attention away from the huge fines being charged to them. Good job cr, Toyota should reward you well.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think it depends on how you drive. I get 26 MPG on the highway with my Flex but I piss off a lot of people by driving the speed limit and coasting to red lights. I also save the rapid acceleration for getting on the DC beltway. If you're an aggressive drive your mileage will suck no matter what you drive.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Some of it does depend on the way you drive but these two models are consistently getting less no matter who is driving. Like I said earlier, I just bought a C-MAX earlier this month and I do not speed and I do no accelerate quickly and I coast to stops trying to get my gas mileage up, but I am still getting only 35mpg which is 12mpg less than what Ford said it would get. One to three mpg less and I wouldn't be complaining, but 12 is was too much. I only decided to buy that make/model because of the advertised/expected mpg. If I knew I wouldn't be getting even close to that, I would have bought a cheaper make/model which gets around 30-35mpg and save my self a lot of money. I'm paying a lot more for a car that gets the same gas mileage as other cars which cost a lot less! The false advertising is why I bought my car and why Ford is now being sued.
          • 2 Years Ago
          i'll keep my fingers crossed
          acobra163
          • 2 Years Ago
          Have you heard of the break-in period? You haven't owned your vehicle long enough to fairly evaluate anything yet. Get back to us in six months...
          Timothy
          • 2 Years Ago
          It seems from my past experiences and some of my friends that after a while of driving, we have gotten better gas mileage. Maybe not 12mpg, but several mpg at least. Give it time.
      timbrands
      • 2 Years Ago
      In TOTALLY unrelated news (? Yeah right!) CR "gives" Toyota Prius "Best Value" even though every test of the C-Max says the Max is a better car than the bigger Prius, because it handles better, is faster, etc. The Ford Hybrids have more HP and weigh more. So it's even more tricky to get the EPA figures, but apparently it can be done...check the C-Max message boards.. Hybrid's are notoriously sensitive to climate, cold weather in particular. Ford released them in the winter, mileage will improve in the summer..........look at any of the old Prius message boards.........it's typical. http://priuschat.com/threads/not-getting-50-mpg-on-new-prius.87924/ "The lawyers and plaintiff have a powerful ally in Consumer Reports Magazine." If Consumer Report is behind this they could be in serious trouble too. As noted the Prius has had trouble meeting it's EPA figures in the past. Nor is CR test circuit a valid EPA test drive. Ford optimized their cars for the EPA cycle, not CR's. CR seems to be think they are better than the EPA, given that the Prius has had similar problems it make CR seem hypocritical.
      STAN
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even harder to understand are the ratings for the hybrids because the government wants you to buy them so they allow the makers to manipulate the numbers.
      papam11
      • 2 Years Ago
      Damn "job creators."
      ben5017
      • 10 Months Ago
      Ford offers high economy diesel powered vehicles in other countries that net over 70 mpg while in the states they work with the govt to keep the fuel taxes up with the advent of poor economy vehicles. Import the Global Ranger ... 32 mpg is very good for a truck with a crew cab and that can tow a 7500 lb trailer ... OH, I forgot, I am supposed to be overwhelmed with the f150 that can't even get 20 mpg! I will never buy another new ford vehicle, or any manufacturers until they understand the customer is right this time!
      ben5017
      • 10 Months Ago
      It's time to Boycott all of the Bluetooth / sync or any nsa programmed spy car until the manufacturers understand they customers are buying these cars, pay the taxes on them, as well as income, property and the million other taxes that support the worms in the NSA ... They work for us and act as they are our masters. JUST SAY NO TO THE NEW NSA PROGRAMMED CARS!
      whtknightnsteel
      • 2 Years Ago
      i just bought a fusion sport 2010,dealer said i would get 25 to 29 miles. i get 20 miles.when i called him on it he then says they get 20 to 22 miles. i love my ford fusion but never buy from that dealer.
      rams2973
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typical Ford Crap
      Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      It seems to me that Americans will sue over anything even when the problem is their own stupidity. Don't they read the small print disclaimers that clearly state that their gas mileage may vary. I get so tired of people who will not accept the fact that they are the main cause of their problems.
      twooheight
      • 2 Years Ago
      This coming from a magazine that several years ago falsely made a Suzuki Samurai roll over so he could give it a bad rating simply because the tester didn't like it. Perhaps Ford was using gasoline and not a gasoline/ethanol blend (oxygenated fuel). I use to have an 81 Ford Bronco and could always tell as soon as the blended fuels were being pumped because my mileage would drop from 12 to 8. Quit pumping corn fuel to make the corn farmers happy and mileage will go up and oh gee guess what, overall pollution will go down.
      Hub
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's see. I run an MPG test according to Federal standards and report the results accurately. I then advertise these accurate results and post them on each car sold with a disclaimer that the results are from a standard test and that actual mileage will vary. Then when you get real world results that are different (yes, even significantly different) you sue. Not to mention, let's make this a class action, so the lawyers can really hit the jackpot. Gee, has anyone ever heard of due diligence? Like you don't know that how you drive influences MPG, even more so with a hybrid? Whine, whine, whine. Another cost of business that the rest of us will pay for.
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