RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Attorney General Josh Stein announced North Carolina will receive more than $300,000 from a multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company.
Ford was accused of falsely advertising the real-world fuel economy of 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of 2011–2014 Super Duty pickup trucks.
Stein’s office said the settlement corrects Ford’s deceptive advertising practices and helps ensure the company will not make false or misleading advertising claims about the fuel economy of its vehicles.
North Carolinians owned or leased 1,197 of the impacted vehicles, Ford has already paid restitution to these customers. In total the state will receive $380,952.61 as part of the $19.2 million settlement.
“Gas prices are soaring, and North Carolinians are doing everything they can to make their dollar go further,” said Attorney General Josh Stein in a statement. “People have to be able to trust that the information they use to buy or lease cars is accurate. Ford failed to make good on its promises about fuel economy – one of the most important factors for car buyers. I’m pleased that North Carolinians who spent their hard-earned money on these vehicles received restitution and that Ford will not deceive customers in this way again.”
A 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.
- Claiming superior real world fuel economy compared to other hybrids.
Stein’s office said 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. The attorneys general involved in the lawsuit allege the videos deceptively reflected that C-Max vehicles offered superior real-world fuel economy and driving performance.
The Attorney General’s office said 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 MY 2013 (twice) and MY 2014 C-Max hybrid.
The attorneys general also investigated Ford’s misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, a line that caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads and includes the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models.
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, tire and jack, center flow console (replacing it with a mini console), and radio. Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.
Attorney General Stein was one of 41 attorneys generals involved in the suit.