lowers fuel economy rating for six vehicles
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[June 13, 2014]
By Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford
Motor Co <F.N> said on Thursday it was lowering the fuel
economy ratings on six of its models, including a number
of hybrids, and would reimburse owners for the
The No. 2 U.S. automaker said the ratings would be cut on its 2013
and 2014 model year hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as
most 2014 Fiesta cars. It was the second time Ford cut fuel ratings
for the C-Max hybrid in under a year.
"We apologize to our customers and will provide goodwill payments to
affected owners," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement. "We
also are taking steps to improve our processes and prevent issues
like this from happening again."
The restatement of mileage estimates is nothing new in the auto
Last August, Ford - which has touted its superior fuel efficiency in
the past - cut the ratings for the C-Max hybrid by up to 7 miles per
gallon following complaints from consumers and experts that the
model's actual mileage fell short of claims.
In 2012, an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency showed that both Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS> and its
affiliate Kia Motors Corp <000270.KS> overstated fuel economy by at
least a mile per gallon. The South Korean carmakers last December
agreed to pay $395 million to settle lawsuits related to the matter.
"Ford isn't the first manufacturer to admit that it was optimistic
in its EPA fuel economy ratings, and it might not be the last," said
Jack R. Nerad, editorial director at Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com.
"The broad implications of this might spur EPA to be more
restrictive in how its fuel economy rules and ratings are
administered," he added. "This will gain attention in Congress as
In the latest case, Ford said it identified an error through
internal testing and notified the U.S. environmental regulator. No
adjustments on other vehicles are planned after review of the entire
lineup, the company said.
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The EPA said it conducted independent tests to confirm Ford's
results and ordered the company to correct fuel economy labels on
the cars within 15 days.
Ford estimated about 200,000 of the affected vehicles had been sold
or leased in the United States, and affected owners would receive a
"goodwill payment" of up to $1,050 for the estimated difference in
fuel costs. Cars in dealer lots will be relabeled with new window
stickers reflecting the corrected estimates.
Owners outside the country will be contacted by the automaker.
The largest change is for Ford's Lincoln MKZ hybrid, which saw its
combined city and highway fuel economy value reduced by 7 miles per
gallon. Other affected models include four versions of the Fiesta,
the hybrid and Energi versions of the Fusion, and the C-Max hybrid
Ford shares were off 2.3 percent at $16.51 in late New York trading.
(Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; editing by G
Crosse and Chris Reese)
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