A class action lawsuit has been filed against Ford Motor Co., alleging that Ford has overstated the fuel efficiency of its 2013 Fusion and C-Max Hybrid vehicles by as much as 10 miles per gallon. It was contended that Ford breached its contract with consumers who relied on the estimates. The lawsuit, which has been removed to a Florida federal court, contends that Ford failed to follow fuel efficiency testing standards created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when determining the vehicles’ estimated gas mileage. It was alleged further that Ford posted the allegedly inflated estimates on the vehicles’ window stickers, which induced customers to buy the cars. The complaint states:
The EPA numbers provide a necessary tool for vehicle comparison for consumers when evaluating vehicles to lease or purchase. Because the window stickers’ representations were grossly inaccurate, many consumers who purchased or leased the vehicles based on deceptive fuel economy claims have suffered injury.
James Oldcorn, the named Plaintiff, purchased a 2013 C-Max Hybrid, which at the time of his purchase was marketed as attaining 47 miles per gallon. He says the vehicle’s fuel economy and gas mileage estimates were an important factor in his decision to buy the car. The lawsuit alleged:
• A Consumer Reports article in December revealed that the C-Max Hybrid and the Fusion Hybrid weren’t as efficient as Ford advertised.
• Consumer Reports‘ investigation determined that the overall mpg estimate for the C-Max Hybrid should be reduced from 47 mpg to 37 mpg, and that the Fusion’s mpg estimate should be decreased from 47 mpg to 39 mpg.
• Although the EPA determines the methodology for fuel economy tests, individual car manufacturers conduct the tests and send the results to the EPA.
• The agency only tests about 15 percent of all vehicles to ensure that their performance matches their reported results.
• According to the EPA, Ford failed to comply with the agency’s testing procedures.
• Ford has sold or leased hundreds and potentially thousands of Fusion and C-Max Hybrids with incorrect fuel estimates on their window stickers.
The complaint contains a breach of contract claim and a claim under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The proposed class action is brought on behalf of a proposed class of Florida residents who bought or leased a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid or C-Max Hybrid.
Ford is not the only automaker to face litigation over allegedly inflated fuel efficiency estimates. In February, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation grouped 12 putative class actions levying similar claims against Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America Inc. into a new MDL in the Central District of California.
The named Plaintiff in the Ford case is represented by Chris Polaszek, John Yanchunis Sr. and Rachel Soffin of Morgan & Morgan, a Tampa, Fla., firm. The case is Oldcorn v. Ford Motor Co. and is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Source: Associated Press
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