Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced a multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company regarding claims that Ford falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of certain model years of C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of certain Super Duty pick-up trucks. Attorney General Donovan, who co-led the investigation into Ford along with the attorneys general of Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, and Arizona, has alleged that Ford misrepresented the numbers to make its cars appear more fuel efficient in real-world driving conditions and tried to make its trucks seem capable of hauling more than was possible. The State of Vermont will receive over $760,202 as its share of the $19.2 million multistate settlement announced today.
“Vermonters looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles should be able to rely on the truthfulness of claims made by manufacturers,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Today’s settlement helps ensure that consumers will receive accurate and reliable information so they can make informed decisions when making a purchase.”
The investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about model years 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids including misrepresenting the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas; marketing that driving style would not impact real-world fuel economy; and claiming superior real-world fuel economy compared to other hybrids.
At one point, Ford ran a series of advertisements called the “Hybrid Games,” which depicted the C-Max outperforming the Prius in a series of videos. The attorneys general allege that the videos deceptively reflected that C-Max vehicles offered superior real-world fuel economy and driving performance. Ford had to lower the C-Max fuel economy rankings twice, once in 2013 and again in 2014. As a result, in 2013 and 2014, Ford made cash payments to C-Max lessees and purchasers of $300-$1025.
The attorneys general also investigated Ford’s deceptive and misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its model years 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, a line that caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads. The 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 the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console (replacing it with a mini console), and radio. Only fleet customers could order the special configuration. Ford did not sell a single truck with the configuration Ford relied on for its “Best-in-Class” payload claim.
Today’s settlement, led by Attorney General Donovan and the attorneys general of Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, and Arizona, was also joined by 35 additional states and jurisdictions.
A copy of the settlement agreement is linked.
Contact: Lauren Jandl, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171