Suit Filed Against Ford for Overstated Fuel Economy Claims
Two California based law firms are consolidating lawsuits pending against Ford Motor Company, alleging that the company overstated fuel economy claims by as much as 10 miles per gallon.
Two California based law firms are consolidating cases filed against the Ford Motor Company, alleging that the automaker conducted “false and misleading” marketing campaigns for its 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid vehicles. Seeking punitive damages because of overinflated fuel economy estimates, firms McCuneWright and Robbins, Geller, Rudman, and Dowd will unite their filed suits, which will now consist of five to ten class-action representatives from various places throughout the country who experienced far lesser fuel economy ratings than promised.
“There’s a lot of really unhappy people,” says Rich McCune, partner at McCuneWright. “We’ve received hundreds of calls from the few newspaper stories that have been around.” McCune asserts that his firm has spoken with “literally hundreds” of hybrid vehicles owners spanning the entire country, not only in places where fuel economy numbers are diminished, such as colder regions or areas with high speed limits, who have seen their vehicles get significantly lower lies per gallon numbers than advertised. Out of these overstated numbers, overs have found themselves at the gas station far more often than they anticipated upon buying their vehicle.
The first to file suit against Ford over miles per gallon claims was Richard Pitkin, a resident of Roseville, California, who purchased a C-Max Hybrid in October of last year. Rather than getting the estimated 47 miles per gallon rating published by the Environmental Protection Agency, his vehicles was topping out at 37. Consumer Reports later confirmed Pitkin’s results, as their test vehicle also fell 10 miles per gallon short of its intended total. The Fusion was also tested, finishing with 35 city miles person gallon and 41 on the highway, compared to the advertised 47 miles per gallon overall.
In response, the EPA announced in December that they would be reviewing Ford’s fuel economy claims, making appropriate adjustments if necessary. Ford themselves have issued a response to the pending lawsuits as well, saying that owners have a choice on how to drive their vehicles: they can be driven safely and conservatively, maximizing fuel economy, or for fun, as their hybrid vehicles have significantly more power than its competitors. For owners experiencing reduced mpg totals, it is likely that they are driving in a more aggressive manner, naturally reducing mileage below the optimal estimates.
Ford is not the first company to have been the focus of miles per gallon lawsuits however, as Hyundai and Kia have recently reached settlement in a class action suit alleging that many of their vehicles featured overzealous fuel economy claims. In the settlement, the Korean automaker has agreed to offer a payout to every owner who has been forced to pay greater fuel costs than anticipated. As the consolidated lawsuit facing Ford continues to progress, there is a possibility that they could face a similar fate. Fuel economy has become one of the most important factors for new car buyers in recent years; inflated or exaggerated numbers could do significant damage to a car maker’s reputation, making the impact of the lawsuit reach far beyond any size of settlement amount.
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