Georgia joins $19 million settlement alleging Ford Motor Company misrepresented hybrid vehicles – WSB-TV Channel 2

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ATLANTA — Attorney General Chris Carr announced Thursday that the State of Georgia has joined 40 other states in a multimillion-dollar, multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company.

The $19.2 million settlement is to resolve 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.

Carr said the announcement is part of the state’s efforts to protect Georgians from dishonest business practices and ensure fairness in the marketplace.

“We take seriously any allegation of deceptive advertising, and companies that purposefully mislead consumers will be held accountable for their actions,” said Carr.

The multistate investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about 2013-2014 C-Max hybrids.

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Some of those misleading representations included:

  • 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.

Carr said that 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 vehicle was initially promoted as 47 mpg in the city and highway, but 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 ensure that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims about the fuel economy of its vehicles.

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.

This line caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads.

The attorneys general allege that Ford’s calculations for maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes were based on a hypothetical truck configuration. This omitted standard items including the spare wheel, the tire and jack, the center flow console, and the radio.

Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.

Carr said Georgia joins 40 other states and jurisdictions in this settlement and as part of the agreement, Georgia will receive $370,706.64.

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