Ford C-Max Sales Falter After Fuel Economy Adjustment

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If you remember, Ford (NYSE:F) ended up stuck between a rock and a hard place — aka the Environmental Protection Agency and its customers – when it was revealed that a formulaic error had seriously high-balled the expected fuel economy averages for the C-Max minivan-crossover vehicle. Originally rated for 47 miles per gallon across the board, an outcry from owners who were having trouble breaking 43 or so made Ford examine the issue to find that they were right, and the official numbers were lowered to more accurately reflect the car’s true fuel economy. The car is now rated for 45 in the city and 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

Despite doing the right thing, it appears that the cut to EPA ratings has hurt the sales of the C-Max. The rating was initially tied to Ford’s Fusion Hybrid sedan, a far sleeker and more aerodynamically efficient vehicle; Ford first attributed the discrepancy to driving style, but it soon became evident that the engineering of the vehicle was at fault for the shortcoming.

“We’re definitely seeing consideration on C-Max decline over time,” the Detroit Free Press quoted Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, as saying. “We need to reinvest in the product because it’s a great car.” Sales for the C-Max slid 39 percent last month. For the year, C-Max sales are down 43 percent.

Ford ended up compensating owners of the C-Max for its misstated claims, announced last August. Despite the decrease, though, the C-Max still manages better fuel economy than its principal rival, the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Prius v — albeit marginally.

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