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Ford Downgrades Fuel Economy Of Six Vehicles

DEARBORN (WWJ) - Ford is reducing the fuel economy rankings on six vehicles — mostly hybrids — after determining that the original numbers were determined erroneously.

"There is certainly no intent to mislead on anyone's part," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "Nevertheless, it's a mistake."

VIDEO: Ford produced video of VP Raj Nair talking about fuel economy error.

That mistake will mean an increase of between 1.7 miles per gallon in the official fuel economy ratings of hybrid versions of the 2013 and 2014 Ford Fusion, Ford C-Max and Lincoln MKZ. Errors were also made in determining the fuel economy of the plug-in hybrid versions of the Fusion and C-Max and most trims of the 2014 Fiesta subcompact.

[LINK: Ford Statement on Fuel Economy Downgrade]

"We've corrected our error, and we're taking steps to improve our process, so an issue like this doesn't happen again," said Nair. "And, finally, we're providing goodwill payments to our customers."

The goodwill payments will range from $125 to $1050.

The error was made during routine wind tunnel testing. Ford says there were no problems with the tests themselves. The issue was with the way the data was interpreted.

The company says it contacted the Environmental Protection Agency as soon as it found out about the error, and does not expect to be fined.

"Ford is absolutely committed to delivering top fuel economy and accurate information," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. "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."

No workers are expected to be disciplined or fired, says Nair. The costs of the goodwill payments are included in Ford's overall warranty costs, and are not expected to impact the company's second quarter earnings.

"Fuel economy is very important to our customers and to us," said Nair. "This is our mistake, plain and simple, and we apologize to our customers for it."

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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