ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today announced that the State of Georgia has joined a $19.2 million multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company. The settlement resolves allegations that Ford falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of model year 2013-2014 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of model year 2011-2014 Super Duty pickup trucks. As part of the settlement agreement, Georgia will receive $370,706.64.
“We take seriously any allegation of deceptive advertising, and companies that purposefully mislead consumers will be held accountable for their actions,” said Carr. “Today’s announcement is just the latest in our continued efforts to protect Georgians from dishonest business practices and ensure fairness in the marketplace.”
2013-2014 C-Max Hybrids
The multistate investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about 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 were narrated like an Olympic sporting event and 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.
The C-Max hybrid was initially promoted as 47 mpg in the city and highway. Ford had to lower the vehicle’s fuel economy rating once in 2013 and again in 2014, to eventually 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway and 40 mpg/city-highway mixed, impacting the 2013 (twice) and 2014 C-Max hybrid. This settlement corrects Ford’s deceptive advertising practices and helps to ensure that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims about the fuel economy of its vehicles.
2011-2014 Super Duty Pick-up Trucks
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. The attorneys general allege that Ford’s methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes was based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as the spare wheel, the tire and jack, the center flow console (replacing it with a mini console) and the radio. Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.
Joining Carr in filing this settlement are the attorneys general of 40 additional states and jurisdictions.