By Nat Shirley
Thursday, Dec 27th, 2012 @ 10:36 am
 
Ford has found itself the defendant in a new class-action lawsuit claiming that the automaker has conducted a fraudulent marketing campaign for its C-MAX and Fusion hybrids based on overstated fuel economy claims.
The litigation was filed by law firm McCuneWright, the same outfit responsible for a recent suit against Hyundai/Kia, on behalf of plantiff Richard Pitkin of Roseville, California. Pitkin claims that his C-MAX Hybrid returns an average of 37 mpg, far below the advertised combined figure of 47 mpg - and that his disappointing mileage experience is shared by numerous other C-MAX owners.

The lawsuit seeks full reimbursement for the purchase price of the indicted hybrid vehicles in addition to an order barring Ford from engaging in further deceptive advertisements.

"In its advertising and marketing campaign for the vehicles, Ford claimed that the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid achieved a class leading 47 Miles Per Gallon," the introduction to the suit reads. "These materials helped Ford achieve record sales for the first two months of C-MAX Hybrid sales, outselling its rival, hybrid sales leader Toyota, but there was a problem. These ads were false."

The suit was filed the day after Consumer Reports called the real-world mileage of Ford's hybrids into question, with the independent magazine claiming that the C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid returned 37 and 38 mpg combined, respectively, in its own testing. Both models are certified by the EPA for 47 mpg combined, although the agency has announced that it plans to look into CR's findings.

Ford has declined to comment on the suit; earlier this month, the automaker said it will stand behind the mileage claims for its C-MAX and Fusion hybrids.