Last year, Hyundai and Kia revised the official fuel consumption ratings for several models and made voluntary payments to customers to compensate for the shortcomings from expected fuel economy.
Now it's Ford's turn. Matching a similar action in the U.S., Ford of Canada has made a voluntary upward revision to the official fuel-consumption ratings for its 2013 C-Max Hybrid models.
The 2013 C-Max's new combined city/highway rating will be 4.5L/100 km, compared to the earlier rating of 4.0L/100 km.
The company also will make a voluntary goodwill payment to current C-Max Hybrid owners to cover the estimated average fuel cost of the difference between the two ratings. Customers who purchased their vehicle will receive a cheque from Ford for $895, while those who leased their vehicle will receive a cheque for $595.
As of July, Ford had sold approximately 1,000 C-Max Hybrid vehicles in Canada.
Unlike Hyundai/Kia, Ford did not make an error in its fuel-consumption determination. It followed procedures permitted by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which permitted the use of the same test data for the C-Max as for the Ford Fusion Hybrid, both of which are part of the same vehicle family and use the same powertrains.
The revised fuel consumption ratings are based on actual tests of the C-max vehicle, which had become the subject of complaints from both customers and media testers for falling wall short of its advertised fuel economy numbers.
According to Ford, the variability of real-world fuel consumption is greater for hybrids than for conventional vehicles. Relatively small differences in driver behaviour and driving conditions can have a significant effect on the degree to which a hybrid’s gasoline engine is used to drive the vehicle, which in turn affects fuel efficiency.
Beyond just restating its official ratings, Ford last month announced powertrain software updates for late-build 2013 C-Max Hybrids to make real improvements in fuel efficiency.
In addition to those updates, 2014 C-Max Hybrids, which will go on sale in December, will benefit from additional hardware changes that include:
- Gear ratio changes
- New hood seal, front and rear tire deflectors, A-pillar mouldings and the addition of rear lift gate deflectors to improve vehicle aerodynamics
- New engine oil with reduced friction
Testing to generate final fuel consumption ratings for the 2014 model is not yet complete.
Existing 2013 customers eligible for compensation 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 Canada Customer Relationship Centre at Ford Canada Customer Support or they can call 1-800-565-3673.