Ford may be clearly stating that it is not discussing any particular models with the Environmental Protection Agency as an official investigation continues, but that isn't stopping the people from filing a federal class action lawsuit against the automaker over mileage claims for the C-Max and Fusion Hybrid vehicles.
In August, Ford said the C-Max Hybrid gets a clean 47 miles per gallon in all three categories (city/highway/combined). The Fusion got the same grades. The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month in US District Court in the Eastern District of California, claims that the marketing campaign Ford is using to promote the fuel economy for those two models is "false and misleading." Ford also used "misrepresentations and omissions" to promote the cars, says the claim.
What's interesting here – and in the Hyundai/Kia MPG situation – is that the EPA signs off on these numbers, even if the agency doesn't test the vehicles itself. Independent tests of the two cars, both by private citizens and Consumer Reports, showed that the vehicles aren't quite hitting those numbers (only getting around 37-39 mpg) in real-world situations. Just as Hyundai is reimbursing customers, the plaintiff in the case, Richard Pitkin from California, says he wants money from Ford, and that other owners should get some, too. The same law firm, McCuneWright, is the one suing Hyundai. Ford told Automotive News it cannot discuss pending litigation.
We'll let the lawsuit determine if Ford's ads are misleading. One thing no one can dispute is that they're working: C-Max sales broke hybrid launch records earlier this year.