LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Ford Motor Company reached a $19.2 million settlement Tuesday with attorneys general from 40 states including Arkansas.
According to a release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, the settlement comes regarding claims that Ford falsely advertised the “real-world” fuel economy of 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of 2011–2014 Super Duty pickup trucks. Arkansas will receive $245,765.75 from the settlement.
According to the release, an investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about the 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids, including misrepresenting the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas, claiming that an individual’s driving style would not impact real-world fuel economy and advertising superior real-world fuel economy as compared to other hybrid vehicles.
The release claims that 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 Toyota Prius, another popular hybrid car, in a series of videos. The coalition of attorneys general involved in the investigation determined that the videos deceptively reflected that C-Max vehicles offered “superior real-world fuel economy” and “driving performance.”
“Thousands of Arkansans, myself included, have relied on Ford and its claims regarding payload capacity and fuel economy of its vehicles to ensure their ability to perform on the farm or on a country gravel road,” Rutledge said. “As gas prices soar and inflation continues to rise, today’s settlement ensures that Arkansas consumers can trust car manufacturers, like Ford, when they purchase a vehicle.”
The investigations led Ford to lower the 2013 C-Max fuel economy rankings, which were initially promoted as 47 miles per gallon in the city and highway, but eventually lowered to 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway and 40 mpg/city-highway mixed.
The settlement reportedly corrects Ford’s deceptive advertising practices and ensures that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims regarding the fuel economy of its vehicles.
The attorneys general also investigated Ford’s misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, which include the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models, a line that caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads.
Ford’s methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes was reportedly based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console, and radio. The special configuration was reportedly advertised as available to all customers, but only fleet customers could order it.