(Adds Ford CEO, analyst comments, details, background, byline;
changes dateline, previous WASHINGTON)
By Ben Klayman
DETROIT, June 12 Ford Motor Co said on
Thursday it was lowering the fuel economy ratings on six of its
models, including a number of hybrids, and would reimburse
owners for the difference.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker said the ratings would be cut on
its 2013 and 2014 model year hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles
as well as most 2014 Fiesta cars. It was the second time Ford
cut fuel ratings for the C-Max hybrid in under a year.
"We apologize to our customers and will provide goodwill
payments to affected owners," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a
statement. "We also are taking steps to improve our processes
and prevent issues like this from happening again."
The restatement of mileage estimates is nothing new in the
Last August, Ford - which has touted its superior fuel
efficiency in the past - cut the ratings for the C-Max hybrid by
up to 7 miles per gallon following complaints from consumers and
experts that the model's actual mileage fell short of claims.
In 2012, an investigation by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency showed that both Hyundai Motor Co
and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp overstated fuel
economy by at least a mile per gallon. The South Korean
carmakers last December agreed to pay $395 million to settle
lawsuits related to the matter.
"Ford isn't the first manufacturer to admit that it was
optimistic in its EPA fuel economy ratings, and it might not be
the last," said Jack R. Nerad, editorial director at Kelley Blue
"The broad implications of this might spur EPA to be more
restrictive in how its fuel economy rules and ratings are
administered," he added. "This will gain attention in Congress
In the latest case, Ford said it identified an error through
internal testing and notified the U.S. environmental regulator.
No adjustments on other vehicles are planned after review of the
entire lineup, the company said.
The EPA said it conducted independent tests to confirm
Ford's results and ordered the company to correct fuel economy
labels on the cars within 15 days.
Ford estimated about 200,000 of the affected vehicles had
been sold or leased in the United States, and affected owners
would receive a "goodwill payment" of up to $1,050 for the
estimated difference in fuel costs. Cars in dealer lots will be
relabeled with new window stickers reflecting the corrected
Owners outside the country will be contacted by the
The largest change is for Ford's Lincoln MKZ hybrid, which
saw its combined city and highway fuel economy value reduced by
7 miles per gallon. Other affected models include four versions
of the Fiesta, the hybrid and Energi versions of the Fusion, and
the C-Max hybrid and Energi.
Ford shares were off 2.3 percent at $16.51 in late New York
(Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; editing
by G Crosse and Chris Reese)