Politics

Attorney General Rutledge Announces $19 million Settlement with Ford Motor Company

Says, ‘As gas prices soar and inflation continues to rise, today’s settlement ensures that Arkansas consumers can trust car manufacturers, like Ford, when they purchase a vehicle’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a $19.2 million multistate settlement with Ford Motor Company regarding claims that Ford falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of 2011–2014 Super Duty pickup trucks. Arkansas will receive $245,765.75 from the settlement.

“Thousands of Arkansans, myself included, have relied on Ford and its claims regarding payload capacity and fuel economy of its vehicles to ensure their ability to perform on the farm or on a country gravel road,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge “As gas prices soar and inflation continues to rise, today’s settlement ensures that Arkansas consumers can trust car manufacturers, like Ford, when they purchase a vehicle.”

An investigation revealed that Ford made several misleading representations about the 2013–2014 C-Max hybrids, including misrepresenting the distance consumers could drive on one tank of gas, claiming that an individual’s driving style would not impact real-world fuel economy and advertising superior real-world fuel economy as compared to other hybrid vehicles. At one point, Ford ran a series of advertisements called the “Hybrid Games,” which were narrated like an Olympic sporting event and depicted the C-Max outperforming the Toyota Prius, another popular hybrid car, in a series of videos. The coalition of attorneys general involved in the investigation determined that the videos deceptively reflected that C-Max vehicles offered superior real-world fuel economy and driving performance. Twice Ford had to lower the 2013 C-Max fuel economy rankings, which were initially promoted as 47 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and highway, but eventually lowered to 42 mpg/city, 37 mpg/highway and 40 mpg/city-highway mixed. This settlement corrects Ford’s deceptive advertising practices and ensures that Ford will not make false or misleading advertising claims regarding the fuel economy of its vehicles.

The attorneys general also investigated Ford’s misleading “Best-in-Class” payload claims on its 2011–2014 Super Duty pick-up trucks, which includes the F-250, F-350, and F-450 models, a line that caters to consumers hauling and towing heavy loads. The attorneys general alleged that Ford’s methodology to calculate maximum payload capacity for advertising purposes was based on a hypothetical truck configuration that omitted standard items such as the spare wheel, tire and jack, center flow console (replacing it with a mini console), and radio. Although advertised as available to all customers, only fleet customers could order the special configuration.

Along with Arkansas, the settlement was joined by the attorneys general of 40 additional states and jurisdictions.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, and launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves on committees for Consumer Protection, Criminal Law and Veterans Affairs for the National Association of Attorneys General. She also served as the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.

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