By Aaron Bragman on December 27, 2012
A California law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against Ford Motor Company on behalf of an owner of a new 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. The owner claims that he is not achieving anywhere near the EPA-stated fuel economy rating for his car. According to the Detroit News, the suit alleges "false and misleading" advertising regarding the C-Max, which is rated by the EPA at 47 mpg combined and which Ford advertises as achieving that level, handily trouncing main rival Toyota and its Prius v wagon.
The suit is being filed for one owner in particular who claims that he has achieved only 37 mpg in his C-Max—and a quick look at the EPA's website fueleconomy.gov reveals that 40 others have chimed in with their own mileage achievements, averaging only 39.7 mpg in the real world. The EPA has already stated that they intend to look into Ford's mileage ratings after receiving complaints about the new C-Max and Fusion Hybrids not living up to their advertised claims, including a surprising review from Consumer Reports that found Ford's new hybrids to have the widest variance between rated and tested fuel economy of any cars it has ever tested.
The entire automotive industry is currently very sensitive to the issue after Hyundai admitted that many of their models did not actually get 40 mpg highway as they'd claimed, and began reimbursing customers for fuel expenses. The old axiom that "your mileage may vary" always applies when dealing with EPA fuel economy ratings, and even more so with hybrid vehicles, which Cars.com has previously noted tend to see even larger mileage declines in cold weather versus traditional gas-powered engines.
Consumer Reports has noted that other hybrids they have tested have also come in below the EPA ratings, but special attention is being paid to Ford's newest offerings, thanks to the company's very aggressive marketing campaign. The C-Max was one of the fastest-selling cars in the country in October.
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron