Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced a $19.2 million multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company “Ford” regarding claims that Ford falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of Model Year (MY) 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids and the maximum payload capacity of MY 2011–2014 Super Duty trucks. The investigation was led by the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection Section and included 41 states. Oregon will receive approximately $1.4 million from the settlement.
“Fuel efficiency and payload capacity are critical performance features for consumers purchasing cars and trucks,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “Manufacturers, of course, have a duty to be truthful about what they make and sell. Ford misrepresented the mileage ratings of its C-Max hybrids as well as the payload capacity of its Super Duty pickups. That is why today we have entered into this 41-state settlement. It’s really simple: Ford— tell the truth about your products!”
MY 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids
The investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about MY 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids including:
- Misrepresenting the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas.
- Marketing that driving style would not impact real world fuel economy.
- Claiming superior real world fuel economy compared to other hybrids.
At one point, Ford ran a series of advertisements called the “Hybrid Games,” which were narrated like an Olympic sporting event and depicted the C-Max outperforming the Prius in a series of videos. Each video deceptively showed the C-Max providing superior real world fuel economy and driving performance. The C-Max hybrid was initially promoted as 47 mpg in the city and highway. Ford had to lower the vehicle’s fuel economy rating once in 2013 and again in 2014, to eventually 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway, and 40 mpg/city-highway mixed; impacting the MY 2013 (twice) and MY 2014 C-Max hybrid.. This settlement corrects Ford’s deceptive advertising practices, and helps ensure that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims regarding the fuel economy of its vehicles.
2011–2014 Super Duty Pick-up Trucks
The investigation also included Ford’s misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, which includes the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models, a line that caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads. The states allege that Ford’s methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes was based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console (replacing it with a mini console), and radio. Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.
In addition to Oregon, joining the $19.2 million settlement with Ford Motor Company are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.