Ford Motor Company finds itself on the receiving end of potential class action litigation after it allegedly overstated the fuel economy of certain model year 2017-2019 vehicles.
Car manufacturers are charged with testing their vehicles with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standardized lab procedures and required to report the results back to the agency, the case says. Not every car off the assembly line needs to be tested, according to the suit—just one “representative vehicle,” usually a preproduction prototype. These tests, the case explains, are done on dynamometers (dynos) that simulate real-world driving.
The lawsuit, which looks to represent consumers in New Jersey, New York and Florida, notes that Ford in February 2019made publicthat the fuel economy testing procedures it performs to receive official EPA fuel economy ratings were inaccurate. In a Form 10-K statement, Ford reportedly said that a handful of employees the previous September spoke up with regard to the analytical model used by the company as part of its fuel economy and emissions compliance procedure. The automaker stated in the same release that it had brought on an outside firm to look into road load specifications used by Ford in its emissions and fuel economy testing.
As the lawsuit tells it, fuel economy ratings are one of the more critical factors considered by consumers shopping for a car, and are often featured prominently in advertising. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs each leased a Ford vehicle with inaccurately stated EPA fuel economy ratings that were advertised as more favorable than would have been the case had the automaker followed proper test procedures. The actual miles-per-gallon for the plaintiffs’ and proposed class members’ vehicles, the case says, is in reality “materially different and less favorable.” The lawsuit argues that Ford knew or should have known that its fuel economy ratings were inaccurate before putting the class vehicles on the market.
“Defendant consciously or recklessly disregarded facts that indicated that Ford’s fuel economy ratings were misstated or overstated,” the plaintiffs allege.