Class-action lawsuit against Ford alleges “misleading” mileage claims

December 31, 2012 11:32 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In an effort to secure the interest of environmentally conscious carbuyers, American automaker Ford made "false and misleading" claims about the gas mileage capabilities of two new hybrid vehicles, alleges a class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California.

The California law firm McCuneWright filed the suit on the behalf of Richard Pitkin of Roseville, according to reports, who says that he purchased the Ford C-Max Hybrid in October believing that it would get 47 miles per gallon, as advertised by Ford. Instead, Pitkin claims to receive only 37 mpg, a figure supported by recent tests by Consumer Reports and published in a December blog post.

The C-Max Hybrid is one of two cars named in the suit – the other, the Fusion Hybrid, gets up to 47 mpg, according to Ford. Consumer Reports also tested this vehicle, saying it only reached 39 mpg overall.

Gas mileage statements are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which tests fuel efficiency at a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour. Critics claim that this testing can yield unreliable results, primarily because many motorists today drive well over that speed.

A Ford marketing executive refuted the allegations, saying driving styles and conditions can affect fuel efficiency and that early tests resulted in "a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg."

Ford is not the only company to suffer allegations of misleading mileage reports – NBC News reports Kia and Hyundai have had to adjust marketing figures after consumer complaints.

Though questions arise as to the legitimacy of Ford's marketing, a lack of clarity related to the company's testing and that of the industry regulator, the EPA, pervades the case. When embroiled in complex litigation with its reputation at stake, an Arizona-based organization would be well-served to seek the support of experienced Phoenix business lawyers to craft a formidable defense.

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