Multi-State Settlement with Ford Over Deceptive Advertising of Hybrids and Trucks

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a multi-state settlement with the Ford Motor Company regarding claims of false advertising of the fuel economy of their 2013-2014 C-Max hybrid and the payload capacity of their 2011-2014 Super Duty pickup trucks. The $19.2 million settlement, of which Pennsylvania will receive $484,782.94, is the result of a multi-state investigation of Attorneys General into allegations of misleading advertising by Ford.

“Families across Pennsylvania are pinching pennies to afford gas right now,” said AG Shapiro. “Some may even be considering purchasing a more fuel efficient car, and when making that purchasing decision, they rely on the information manufacturers give out about fuel economy. Ford can’t be permitted to jack up the numbers where they like in order to make their hybrid vehicle look the best. Consumers deserve to have the facts in order to make a fully informed decision.”

The multi-state investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about their 2013-2014 C-Max hybrids. Their marketing claimed that driving style wouldn’t impact real world fuel economy, claimed superior real world fuel economy compared to other hybrids, and misrepresented the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas.

Ford’s advertising campaign, called the “Hybrid Games,” depicted the C-Max outperforming a Prius in a series of videos. The C-Max hybrid was promoted as getting 47 mpg in the city and highway, when in reality the car’s fuel economy rating was 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway and 40 mpg/city-highway.

Ford’s “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011-2014 Super Duty pickup trucks were also a subject of the multistate investigation. Ford’s methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity was based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console, and radio. Even though that version of their Super Duty pickups was advertised to everyone, in reality only fleet customers could order it.

The settlement was negotiated by Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont and Arizona, and joined by Pennsylvania and an additional 34 states and jurisdictions.