Ford Motor Co. has lowered the fuel economy numbers for many of its hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, plus its popular Fiesta, and promised to send checks to 200,000 U.S. customers who bought or leased Ford cars with inflated mileage numbers.
The affected cars, from the 2013 and 2014 model years, are the Fiesta, C-MAX, C-MAX Energi, Fusion, Fusion Energi and MKZ.
The company said a testing error had caused it to overstate fuel economy levels for those cars by as much as five miles per gallon on some models.
"We are committed to delivering top fuel economy and accurate information to our customers. When we see an issue, we address it," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. "This was our mistake, plain and siimple. And we apologize to our customers"
Ford said it discovered the problem in March and immediately notified the Environmental Protection Agency, which certifies mileage ratings for car manufacturers, and hence did not expect to be fined by the agency.
Nair said the company would begin compensating owners shortly. Those who purchased or leased vehicles affected by the bad mileage numbers could receive payments of from $125 for customers who leased a 2014 Fiesta, for example, to $1,050 for customers who purchased a 2013 or 2014 MKZ Hybrid.
This is not Ford's first issue with inflated fuel economy numbers. Last August the company promised to pay $325 to people who leased a C-MAX and $550 to people who purchased one after downgrading its promised fuel economy from 47 miles per gallon to 42 miles per gallon.