NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Ford Motor Company will pay more than $19 million in a settlement after being accused of misrepresenting the fuel mileage of some models. New Mexico will receive more than $250,000 from Ford, according to the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
The car models in dispute are Ford’s C-MAX hybrids from 2013 to 2014. The Attorneys General of dozens of states banded together to bring a lawsuit against Ford, claiming that the company misrepresented how far the cars could go on a single tank of gas.
In one of the challenged ads, Ford highlights the cars’ performance by comparing the C-MAX with a Toyota Prius in tv-network-sports-like “Hybrid Games.” The ads are complete with commentators and scores, but the Attorney General alleges that the videos are deceptive and don’t reflect the car’s real performance.
Story continues below
- Top Story: More $250, $500 tax rebates heading to New Mexicans in July
- New Mexico: What you need to know about New Mexico’s new paid sick leave law
- Crime: APD continues investigation into deaths of husband, wife
- Albuquerque: Albuquerque business owners, employees near problem park want change
“New Mexico families deserve trustworthy and accurate information when shopping for automobiles,” Hector Balderas, the state’s attorney general, said in a press release. “It is crucial to hold businesses accountable when fuel efficiency and environmental impact is so critical for our nation.”
On top of that, the settlement also includes claims that Ford misled the payload capabilities of the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models from 2011 to 2014. The Attorneys General claim that Ford advertised cargo capacities based on options only available to commercial fleet customers.
As part of the settlement, Ford agreed to pay a total of $19 million to the states involved, plus $200,000 in settlement costs. Of that, New Mexico will get more than $250,000, according to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
“The more than $250,000 penalty for deceptive advertising claims will go to the Consumer Settlement Fund to fund future investigations and consumer education,” explains Jerri Mares, the office’s communications director. And “The purchasers of the C-MAX vehicles have received restitution directly from Ford.”
Since 2011, money in the Consumer Settlement Fund has generally been used to funding the state’s Attorney General’s Office, according to a report to the New Mexico Legislature. They money can also be used for other purposes, such as funding other state agencies.
Across the U.S., consumers who purchased or leased C-MAX vehicles have received $35 million in restitution, according to Connecticut’s Office of the Attorney General.
Ford, as their share of the settlement, denies that they broke the law, according to a documents from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. But Ford agrees to not make false claims about the fuel economy or payload capacity of new vehicles.
KRQE News 13 tried to call Ford’s Assistant General Counsel for comment, but the phone number listed on an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance related to the settlement did not go through.