Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
August 15, 2013
When Ford launched the C-Max Hybrid, they claimed that it would get 47 MPG in the city, on the highway, and combined. In the real world, that wasn't coming up at all. Owners complained that they were not seeing anywhere close to those numbers and the EPA opened an investigation to see if those numbers were achievable.
Today Ford announced that they are voluntarily lowering fuel economy estimates on the C-Max Hybrid to 45 City/40 Highway/43 Combined. Ford also announced they would be compensating current owners the average estimated fuel cost difference between the two labels; $325 to lessees and $550 to buyers.
How did the C-Max Hybrid end up with those numbers in the first place? Well it deals with EPA General Label rules. Essentially automakers generate a fuel economy label for a group of vehicles that share common characteristics; similar weight class and powertrain as examples. From there, tests are done on the vehicle who is projected to have the highest sales in the family. In the case of the C-Max Hybrid, it was grouped in with the Fusion Hybrid due to both have the same powertrain and being of similar weight. The Fusion Hybrid was tested and the numbers it got during its fuel economy test were applied to the C-Max Hybrid.
Press Release is on Page 2
FORD UPGRADES 2014 C-MAX HYBRID FOR BETTER FUEL ECONOMY, CHANGES 2013 LABEL TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
- 2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid on sale later this year is upgraded with new transmission gearing and enhanced aerodynamics to further improve fuel efficiency performance
- Ford voluntarily changing its approach to C-MAX Hybrid fuel economy labeling going forward to better match performance and improve customer satisfaction
- Label changes will result in a lower 2013 C-MAX Hybrid miles-per-gallon label – though still class-leading and a better combined label than the Toyota Prius v; current C-MAX Hybrid owners will receive a goodwill payment for the difference
- Customer demand for C-MAX Hybrid remains very strong, with two-thirds of buyers from imports; C-MAX Hybrid helps drive Ford to best quarterly hybrid U.S. sales ever
- Underscoring its commitment to fuel economy leadership, Ford Motor Company today said it is upgrading the 2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, which will go on sale in December. The company also is changing the way it tests and labels the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid for fuel economy to better match performance and improve customer satisfaction.
The upgrades build on powertrain software updates Ford announced last month for the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid. The 2014 C-MAX also will benefit from several hardware changes, including:
- 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
- The enhancements to the 2014 C-MAX Hybrid are expected to improve customers' on-road fuel economy, especially at highway speeds.
"Ford is absolutely committed to being a leader in the hybrid market and to top fuel efficiency across our lineup," said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. "We are taking actions with our popular C-MAX Hybrid so that customers are even more satisfied with the vehicle's on-road fuel efficiency performance."
The variability of on-road fuel economy is greater for hybrids than for conventional vehicles. Relatively small differences in driver behavior and driving conditions can have a significant effect on the degree to which a hybrid's gasoline engine is used for propulsion, which affects fuel efficiency.
Changes to C-MAX Hybrid fuel economy labeling process
In addition to improving the vehicle itself, Ford is changing the way it generates the miles-per-gallon label for C-MAX Hybrid going forward. Previously – and consistent with EPA's General Label rules – testing of the Fusion Hybrid was used to generate fuel economy labels for a family of vehicles, including both Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid. The result was the same fuel economy label values for both vehicles.
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.
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.
Because this voluntary step results in miles-per-gallon values different from the original C-MAX Hybrid label, Ford also is making a goodwill payment to current C-MAX Hybrid owners for the estimated average fuel cost of the difference between the two labels. Customers who purchased their vehicle will receive a check from Ford for $550. Customers who leased their vehicle will receive a check for $325.
Existing customers will be notified by mail, and Ford is working with dealers to re-label vehicles on dealer lots. Customers with questions can contact the Ford Customer Relationship Center at http://corporate.ford.com/owner-services/customer-support/contact-ford, or +1-800-392-3673.
Strong C-MAX customer reaction
Customer response to Ford C-MAX is strong. In fact, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are driving record U.S. electrified vehicle sales. Ford sold 53,014 electrified vehicles through July – 392 percent higher than a year ago. Two-thirds of buyers are coming from imports.
In addition, the latest J.D. Power APEAL study shows C-MAX Hybrid is scoring high with customers. Engine responsiveness, smoothness, passing power/acceleration, interior quietness and visibility all rank significantly higher than the segment average. Customers also report C-MAX is "more luxurious" and "more innovative," as well as more environmentally friendly.
Ford's electrified vehicle market share through the first seven months of this year is 15.4 percent -- a 12-point increase compared with the same period last year.