After complaints were raised in nearly every US state, Ford will pay a settlement of $19.2 million for falsely advertising the real-world fuel economy of its C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of some types of Super Duty pickup trucks.
A complaint was raised by attorney generals across the country, which led to a widespread investigation. Following this, it was decided that Ford did mislead consumers.
The investigation concluded that misrepresentations were made in several areas, including the distance that could be driven on a single tank of gas, that the vehicles have better fuel economy than other hybrid cars, and that the driving style doesn’t affect fuel economy.
One of Ford’s advertising campaigns called “Hybrid Games” shows that C-Max vehicles offered superior real-world fuel economy and driving performance.
State officials also investigated claims made that Ford’s 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, which include the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models had “Best-in-Class” payloads.
The officials say that the claims were based on a hypothetical situation and that the truck configuration needed isn’t available to most customers.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said: “Decreased fuel efficiency results in a significant additional cost for drivers. Ford intentionally deceived customers with inflated fuel economy and payload capacity ratings, falsely claiming their C-Max hybrids and Super Duty pickup trucks could beat the competition.”
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul added: “Consumers should be able to trust information issued by a product’s manufacturer – particularly if the product is something as expensive as a vehicle. In this instance, Ford’s alleged false advertising misled consumers into buying a product they may have otherwise not purchased.”
In a statement to Automotive News, Ford said it was pleased that the issue was “closed without any judicial finding of improper conduct. We worked with the states to resolve their concerns and in the process limited additional investigative costs and legal expenses for all parties.”