News Column

Ford Sending Checks to Some Car Owners

June 18, 2014

By Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press

Ford says it is mailing checks to owners who cars had incorrect fuel mileage stickers.
Ford says it is mailing checks to owners who cars had incorrect fuel mileage stickers.

Ford will start mailing checks at the end of June to 215,000 owners of Ford and Lincoln vehicles that were sold with inaccurate fuel economy ratings.

Customers do not need to contact the automaker; the payment is automatic, said Ford spokesman Said Deep.

Last week Ford said it had applied test data incorrectly which resulted in inflated fuel economy claims for six vehicles, mostly hybrids. Affected are most trim levels of the 2014 Ford Fiesta as well as hybrid versions of the 2013-14 Ford Fusion, C-Max and Lincoln MKZ and the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.

The ratings are off by 1 to 7 m.p.g. The reimbursement vary from $124 for a leased Fiesta with a 1-liter engine to $1,050 for a purchased Lincoln MKZ. The reimbursement depends on the vehicle and whether it is leased or purchased.

Scott Gardner, 55, of Grand Rapids was pleased to hear Ford admit its mistake.

He had written two letters to Ford this year complaining that his wife Suzanne's 2013 Fusion hybrid car was getting 37 m.p.g. -- not the advertised 47.

"I was told to drive it differently and brake more often," Gardner said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has given Ford 15 days to correct its labels. The automaker has told dealers to expect them this week.

Raj Nair, Ford's head of global product development, said a discrepancy in testing was detected last October and subsequent testing traced the problem to a new process for correlating wind tunnel results. Those figures are used to determine the resistance level set on the dynamometer that tests a vehicle's mileage.

The EPA has conducted independent tests to confirm the corrected fuel economy ratings on the vehicles and Ford has agreed to enhanced validation tests for future vehicles under EPA oversight to prevent the error from occurring again.

This is the second time in the last year that Ford has had to lower mileage figures on some models and is a setback to its reputation as a leader in fuel economy.

Last year Ford voluntarily lowered the claims for the C-Max hybrid from 47to 43 m.p.g. In that case, Ford tested the Fusion hybrid and applied the same numbers to the boxier C-Max.

Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or apriddle@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle

Original headline; Checks coming for owners of Ford vehicles with wrong m.p.g. labels


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