After a few lawsuits, and many a nasty comment online by 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid buyers – along with others who insist its EPA rating is good – Ford has downgraded its combined rating from 47 to 43 mpg.
Ford admitted the C-Max hybrid was never actually tested prior to affixing a 47 mpg Monroney label to its window, and launching a series of ads and press releases flaunting the advantage over its Toyota Prius rivals.
Instead, Ford said, it based EPA ratings for the C-Max upon those for the Fusion Hybrid which shares its powertrain. Ford said it is now changing the way it tests mileage, presumably to ensure greater accuracy.
“While the company could continue to use EPA’s General Label for C-Max Hybrid, Ford voluntarily has decided to test and label C-Max Hybrid separately going forward. The result will be a lower miles-per-gallon label for the 2013 C-Max Hybrid. Testing to generate a label for the 2014 C-Max Hybrid is not yet complete,” said Ford in a statement. “The revised 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid label will carry a class-leading EPA combined fuel economy value of 43 mpg – topping the combined label value of 42 mpg for the Toyota Prius v.”
With bragging rights still mildly intact, Ford says it will provide a “goodwill” payment of $550 to those who purchased the car, and $325 to lessees of the car.
At the same time, Ford’s Raj Nair, who is in charge of global product development at Ford, repeated a past defense citing the wide degree of variability in actual hybrid mileage returned.
“This is an industrywide issue with hybrid vehicles,” said Nair. “We’ve learned along with EPA that the regulations create some anomalies for hybrid vehicles under the general label rule.”
New cars on the lot will receive a new Monroney sticker reflecting the change.
Unknown is whether Ford will reduce the C-Max Hybrid’s price. Owners will be notified by mail, and if they have further questions, they can contact Ford’s Customer Relations Center, or call 800-392-3673.
Overall, Ford spun the news as positively as possible and announced it alongside news of upgrades to the 2014 that it says should help it net improved fuel economy – especially on the highway – when it goes on sale in December.
The enhancements consist of the following:
• Gearing changes that result in a more efficient transmission drive ratio
• New hood seal, front and rear tire deflectors, A-pillar moldings and the addition of rear lift gate deflectors to improve vehicle aerodynamics
• New engine oil with reduced friction
Ford says it and other new hybrids are helping drive record sales and the latest J.D. Power APEAL study has seen the car score well with new customers for the C-Max Hybrid.