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Old 12-27-2012, 02:01 AM   #1
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Ford dealt class-action lawsuit over C-Max, Fusion hybrid mileage claims

A California-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against Ford Motor Co., alleging the company has led a "false and misleading" marketing campaign for its 2013 C-Max and Fusion hybrid vehicles.

Law firm McCuneWright alleges fraud and negligent misrepresentation, among others, by Ford, in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California. The suit seeks punitive damages, including reimbursement for the purchase price of Ford's new hybrid vehicles.

"In its advertising and marketing campaign for the vehicles, Ford claimed that the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid achieved a class leading 47 Miles Per Gallon," part of the 17-page suit read. "These materials helped Ford achieve record sales for the first two months of C-MAX Hybrid sales, outselling its rival, hybrid sales leader Toyota, but there was a problem. These ads were false."

The plaintiff in the suit is Richard Pitkin of Roseville, Calif., who purchased a C-Max Hybrid in October and says he only averaged 37 miles per gallon, lower than the Environmental Protection Agency rated 47 miles per gallon.

The EPA this month said it would review Ford's fuel efficiency claims after Consumer Reports found the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid got significantly worse fuel efficiency than the EPA window sticker suggests.

Consumer Reports said on Dec. 6 that in testing, the car's fuel efficiency fell 10 miles per gallon short: It got 37 mpg overall, with 35 mpg for city driving and 38 mpg highways. The Fusion Hybrid, certified for the same 47 mpg, got 39 mpg in testing overall, with 35 mpg city and 41 mpg highway.

"These two vehicles have the largest discrepancy between our overall-mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we've seen among any current models," Consumer Reports said in a statement.

One day later, McCuneWright, which has filed similar suits against General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co., filed suit against Ford.

The C-Max can travel at a top speed of 62 mph in electric-only mode. Above 62 mph, the car's four-cylinder gasoline engine starts and helps to recharge the battery.

That top electric-only speed means that for the portion of the EPA's highway fuel-efficiency test, which maxes out at 60 mph, the car can travel in electric-only mode without the gasoline engine kicking on; essentially the C-Max Hybrid is optimized for the EPA test.

Consumer Reports said Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius falls short of mileage expectations by 6 mpg and the Prius c Two falls short of mileage expectations by 7 mpg.

But Ford says its hybrid vehicles are built to give customers a choice: a driver can operate the vehicle conservatively and achieve EPA mileage claims, or drive the car for fun, because Ford's hybrids get significantly better horsepower than competitor vehicles.

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