2014 Fusion Hybrid
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid (Ford Motor Company)

Ford announced that it is downgrading fuel economy ratings on the 2013-14 C-Max Energi, C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Energi, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, as well as 2014 Ford Fiesta models that have the base four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission or the optional EcoBoost three-cylinder engine.

The automaker says that internal testing revealed an error with the EPA ratings, and that the vehicles were reassessed by the EPA to determine accurate fuel economy estimates.

“Ford is absolutely committed to delivering top fuel economy and accurate information,” Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO, says in a statement. “We apologize to our customers and will provide goodwill payments to affected owners. We also are taking steps to improve our processes and prevent issues like this from happening again.”

Goodwill payments range from $125 for customers leasing a 2014 Ford Fiesta with the three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, to $1,050 for owners who purchased a 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The combined fuel economy ratings of most affected vehicles will be decreased by between one and five miles per gallon, while the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid takes the biggest hit with a combined fuel economy rating that is seven mpg lower.

Concerns about the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid fuel economy estimates started as early as December 2012, when Consumer Reports wrote that both models fell short of their advertised fuel economy ratings. Additionally, this is the second time Ford has reassessed EPA estimates and issued goodwill payments on the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, which was originally rated at 47/47 mpg city/highway, but now carries a 42/37 mpg rating. Last year, Ford provided a free software update to boost real-world fuel economy on three affected models, including the 2013 C-Max, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Ford is not the only automaker that has been under fire for inflated fuel economy estimates. The New York Times reports, “In November 2012, after an E.P.A. investigation into consumer complaints that their cars were underperforming, Hyundai and Kia Motors said that they would begin to reimburse consumers and restate gas mileage estimates for about 900,000 vehicles sold in the United States.”

Ford reports that 200,000 affected vehicles have been purchased or leased in the U.S., and will provide dealers with updated fuel economy labels on June 18.

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