Ford Lowers Mileage Rating On C-Max Hybrid

fromMR

On Thursday, Ford issued a statement lowering the vehicle's stated performance for combined city and highway to 43 miles per gallon. The car had been advertised at 47 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, but tests reportedly showed the figure to be inflated.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an EPA crackdown.

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GREENE: Ford Motor Company will reduce the fuel economy sticker on its new C-Max hybrid to 43 miles per gallon, down from its earlier estimate of 47.

As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, the change has generated a new review of fuel economy testing standards.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Ford wants to be a fuel economy leader, rivaling Toyota. Its ads for the C-Max compared its fuel economy favorably to the Prius. Now, those ads will have to be yanked.

Jake Fisher is with Consumer Reports, which early on questioned the C-Max mpg. Fischer says one problem could be that the EPA's fuel economy tests factor in a lot of stop-and go driving.

JAKE FISHER: But if you're just cruising along at 70, you're not going to get anywhere near those numbers.

SAMILTON: Here's another problem. The EPA's Chris Grundler says Ford originally didn't even put the C-Max through the tests. As permitted by EPA rules, Ford used its Fusion hybrid to stand in for the C-Max - because both vehicles are the same weight and have the same power train. That generally works fine.

CHRIS GRUNDLER: This did not work for the Ford C-Max.

SAMILTON: Grundler says the agency will review its standards to make sure the fuel economy sticker for a hybrid is as accurate as for a non-hybrid.

GRUNDLER: We're going to see more of this in the future, which is why we want to nip this in the bud.

SAMILTON: The mileage downgrade will be costly for Ford which will send a $550 rebate to all 32,000 of its C-Max customers.

For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton.

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