A number of recent class actions have challenged Ford’s fuel economy ratings, first for its 2019 Rangers, and then for its 2017-2019 F-150 trucks as well. This class action alleges that the fuel economy ratings for other models of Ford vehicles are inaccurate as well. The three plaintiffs in this suit lease, separately, a 2017 Ford Escape, a 2018 Ford Fusion SE, and a 2018 Ford Explorer XLT.
The National Class for this action is all persons in the US who bought or leased Ford vehicles for model years 2017 to 2018 that were marketed and sold with overstated fuel economy. The complaint also sets out New York, Florida, and New Jersey Classes, for persons who bought or leased similar vehicles in those states.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires fuel economy testing for all cars. It sets forth methods for doing this but relies on manufacturers to carry out the actual testing. Fuel economy is an important point for consumers to consider when buying or leasing a vehicle, because it has a direct bearing on how expensive a vehicle is to operate.
In February 2109, Ford announced that its fuel economy tests were not accurate and that the fuel economy of some vehicles had been overstated. The issue had been exposed by the company’s Speak Up employee reporting channel.
The tests are carried out on a machine called a dynamometer which simulates a driving environment. A factor called road load, which has previously been measured separately, must be entered to simulate things like friction, aerodynamic drag, and tire-related losses. It seems that Ford technicians had entered false calculations of road load for the tests, on at least certain vehicles, which then produced more desirable fuel economy figures.
This is not the first time Ford has been accused of errors in its fuel economy calculations. A Reuters article reported, “In 2013 Ford overstated the fuel economy for its C-Max hybrid model by seven miles per gallon and in 2014 lowered fuel economy ratings for six other models and offered compensation to customers.”
This time, suspicion fell first on the Ranger and F-150, Ford trucks. Now, this action alleges that more Ford vehicles than just those two were improperly rated for fuel economy, adding the Escape, Fusion, and Explorer.
The complaint calls for the tolling of the statute of limitations, since consumers were generally not in a position to be certain that the vehicles were not getting the advertised mileage. It alleges breaches of warranties, common law fraud, and violations of state consumer protection statutes.