The Iowa Attorney General’s Office said on Tuesday that Ford Motor Company would pay $19.2 million to settle accusations that it falsely represented real-world fuel efficiency and payload capacity for various hybrids and pickup trucks.
Ford decreased the claimed fuel economy estimates on the C-Max hybrid by up to seven miles per gallon in 2013, and mailed owners $550 cheques to compensate for the difference in fuel expenses.
“For years, Ford advertised impressive fuel economy and payload capacity for its cars and trucks,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said. “Unfortunately, these figures were not based in reality, leaving customers with vehicles that did not meet their standards.”
Ford is prohibited from making false or misleading advertising claims about a new vehicle’s projected fuel efficiency or cargo capacity under a settlement reached with 40 states and the District of Columbia. Ford refused to concede any wrongdoing.
Ford expressed satisfaction that the matter had been “resolved without any court finding of unlawful behavior.” We worked with the states to address their concerns and, in the process, kept all parties’ investigation and litigation expenditures to a minimum.”
According to Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, Ford overstated the distance consumers could drive on a single tank of gas, claimed driving style had no effect on cars’ real-world fuel economy, and promised higher real-world fuel efficiency compared to competing hybrids.
According to Platkin, Ford sponsored misleading ads called the “Hybrid Games,” which were narrated like an Olympic event and featured the Ford C-Max outperforming the Toyota Prius in a series of movies. Toyota has been silent.
Ford allegedly employed a misleading tactic to recover the “Best in Class” payload capacity after competing trucks had surpassed it, according to the states.
“Ford used a truck configuration it didn’t intend to sell to individual buyers in calculating the maximum payload capacity of its vehicles, the investigation found – one that omitted such standard items as the spare wheel, tire and jack, radio, and center console (which was replaced by a mini-console),” Platkin said.
As a consequence, “Ford was able to add an extra pound to its Super Duty truck’s maximum advertiseable payload capacity — just enough for Ford to recover the title of ‘Best-in-Class’ for payload.”
Ford will recall 12,000 2020 F-350 trucks in 2021 due to inaccurate payload numbers. According to a research, they may have been inflated by 78 to 900 pounds.