— Ford fuel economy ratings on C-MAX Hybrids and payload capacity ratings on Super Duty trucks have cost the automaker $19.2 million in a settlement with 40 U.S. state attorneys general.
According to the settlement, Ford will pay more than $19 million because of misleading fuel economy claims on 2013-2014 C-MAX Hybrids, and misleading payload estimates on 2011-2014 Ford F-250, F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks.
The $19.2 million settlement involves Ford and the attorneys general of these states:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin
According to the settlement, video advertisements from Ford were deceptive because the ads said the Ford C-MAX Hybrid had an estimated 47 mpg for city/highway driving, but in reality the mpg estimate was 40 for city/highway.
Ford lowered the fuel economy ratings in 2013 and 2014 for 2013-2014 C-MAX Hybrids and reimbursed people who bought or leased the vehicles during and shortly after the time the rating was incorrectly advertised.
According to Ford documents from 2013, each owner was reimbursed up to $1,050 and lessees were sent up to $625 each.
The 40-state lawsuit asserts Ford's C-MAX Hybrid fuel "mistakes" were intentional, just as what allegedly happened with payload estimates for 2011-2014 Ford F-250, F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks.
The attorneys general allege Ford used a deceptive methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity to be used for advertising purposes.
Specifically, the attorneys general claim Ford intentionally left out typical items that can affect payload capacity such as the spare wheel, tire, jack, radio and center console. That Super Duty truck configuration was advertised to the public, but the settlement alleges only large fleet customers could order those Ford trucks.
From reading the settlement agreement, Ford settled the case to get it over with and save on legal expenses, and the states accepted the agreement without finding any wrongdoing or admission of guilt by Ford.
"The parties have entered into this Assurance without trial of any issue of fact or law. Ford specifically denies it has violated any federal or state laws. Nothing contained herein may be taken as or construed to be an admission or concession of any violation of law or regulation, or of any other matter of fact or law, or of any liability or wrongdoing, nor shall it constitute any evidence or finding supporting any of the allegations of fact or law alleged by the Attorney General, or any violation of state or federal law, rule or regulation or any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever."
In 2013, Ford said it was its own people who found the mileage problems and notified federal officials about the C-MAX Hybrid errors that were caused during testing.