Ford has decided to downgrade the fuel economy of its C-MAX Hybrid vehicle (pictured) following EPA testing and consumer complaints.
The vehicle was initially reported as achieving 47mpg combined, but now its fuel economy estimates are 45mpg city, 40mpg highway and 43mpg combined.
In addition, Ford is offering buyers a payment of $550 on purchases and $325 on leases to offset the difference in reported fuel economy. It has also been announced that it will upgrade the 2014 C-MAX Hybrid with enhanced aerodynamics and new transmission gearing to boost its fuel economy.
So what exactly went wrong?
It was in December last year that road testing by Consumer Reports suggested the fuel economy of the C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid fell short of the figures touted. At the time, the report suggested that the two models had the largest discrepancy between reported figures and real world figures out of all models. Ford responded by suggesting it stood by its figures.
However, following consumer complaints, the EPA acquired a 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid and accumulated 4,000 miles to break it in and then performed fuel economy tests. It subsequently determined that the fuel economy performance was significantly lower than the original label indicated.
Ford has since made an announcement about its decision to voluntarily reduce the reported fuel economy of its vehicle but emphasised there is a greater on-road variability for hybrids than other models and that relatively small differences in conditions or driving behaviour could affect fuel efficiency.
It was also suggested that one reason behind the issue was the EPA's general label rule that allow vehicles with the same engine, transmission and weight class to use the same fuel economy data: meaning the highest volume vehicle configuration is used to generate the label.
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