Arkansas AG announces $19 million settlement with Ford Motor Company

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Tuesday a $19.2 million multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company regarding claims that Ford falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of 2013 – –2014 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of 2011 – 2014 Super Duty pickup trucks. Arkansas will receive $245,765.75 from the settlement.

“Thousands of Arkansans, myself included, have relied on Ford and its claims regarding payload capacity and fuel economy of its vehicles to ensure their ability to perform on the farm or on a country gravel road,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “As gas prices soar and inflation continues to rise, today’s settlement ensures that Arkansas consumers can trust car manufacturers, like Ford, when they purchase a vehicle.”

An investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about the 2013 – –2014 C-Max hybrids, including misrepresenting the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas, claiming that an individual’s driving style would not impact real-world fuel economy and advertising superior real-world fuel economy as compared to other hybrid vehicles. At one point, Ford ran a series of advertisements called the “Hybrid Games,” which were narrated like an Olympic sporting event and depicted the C-Max outperforming the Toyota Prius, another popular hybrid car, in a series of videos. The coalition of attorneys general involved in the investigation determined that the videos deceptively reflected that C-Max vehicles offered superior real-world fuel economy and driving performance. Twice Ford had to lower the 2013 C-Max fuel economy rankings, which were initially promoted as 47 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and highway, but eventually lowered to 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway and 40 mpg/city-highway mixed. This settlement corrects Ford’s deceptive advertising practices and ensures that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims regarding the fuel economy of its vehicles.

The attorneys general also investigated Ford’s misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011 – 2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, which includes the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models, a line that caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads. The attorneys general alleged that Ford’s methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes was based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console (replacing it with a mini console), and radio. Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.

Along with Arkansas, the settlement was joined by the attorneys general of 40 additional states and jurisdictions.

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