Attorney General Tong announces $19.2 million multi-state settlement with Ford Motor Company
(Hartford, CT) — Attorney General William Tong today announced a $19.2 million multi-state settlement with Ford Motor Company over allegations that Ford falsely advertised the actual fuel economy of hybrids. C-Max from model year 2013-2014 and payload capacity from model year 2011-2014 Super Duty Pickups. Connecticut will receive $253,229.65 from the settlement. Ford separately paid $35 million in direct restitution to C-MAX lessees and owners.
“Gas is a huge expense for families in Connecticut. The decrease in energy efficiency entails a significant additional cost for drivers. Ford intentionally misled customers with inflated fuel economy and payload capacity ratings, falsely claiming that their C-Max hybrids and Super Duty pickups could beat the competition. These false and misleading advertisements were illegal and will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Tong.
“Advertising has a huge impact in persuading someone to buy an item, but when that advertisement contains false and misleading information, it can cause great harm to unsuspecting consumers,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “We are pleased to see this matter resolved and appreciate the Attorney General taking action when there are allegations that consumers are being misled.”
2013–2014 C-Max Hybrids
The investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading claims about the 2013-2014 C-Max Hybrids, including:
• Distort the distance consumers could travel on a single tank of gas;
• Marketing this style of driving would not impact real-world fuel economy; and,
• Claim superior real-world fuel economy over other hybrids.
At one point Ford ran a series of commercials called “Hybrid Games”, which were narrated as an Olympic sporting event and depicted the C-Max outperforming the Prius in a series of videos. The attorneys general allege the videos misrepresented that the C-Max vehicles offered superior fuel economy and real-world driving performance. The C-Max Hybrid was initially promoted at 47 mpg city and highway. Ford had to lower the vehicle’s fuel economy rating once in 2013 and again in 2014, eventually reaching 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway, and 40 mpg/city-highway combined; affecting the 2013 model year (twice) and the 2014 model year C-Max Hybrid. This settlement corrects Ford’s misleading advertising practices and helps ensure that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims about the fuel economy of its vehicles.
2011–2014 Super Duty Pickups
Attorneys General also investigated Ford’s misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011-2014 Super Duty pickups, which includes the F-250, F-350 and F-450 models, a lineup that caters to consumers carrying and towing heavy loads. Attorneys General allege that Ford’s methodology for calculating maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes was based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as spare tire, tire and jack, center console (replacing it with a mini console) and the radio. . Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.
The settlement was led by Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont and Arizona, and joined by attorneys general from 35 additional states and jurisdictions.
- Twitter: @AGWilliamTong
- Facebook: CT Attorney General