Ford Faces Class Claims over Inaccurate Emissions Ratings

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On July 22, 2019, American automotive giant Ford Motors Co. was hit with a staggering $1.2 billion putative class action lawsuit in Michigan federal court alleging that Ford manipulated its coastdown testing and used inaccurate drag and resistant figures to boost the vehicles’ EPA mileage ratings, making the vehicles more appealing to potential buyers.

The complaint was filed by named plaintiffs David Brewer, Ryan Combs, Victor Perez, Harold Brower, Kyle Mannion, Gerald O’Hara, Nicholas Leonardi, Dean Kriner and James Williams. Plaintiffs alleged that Ford did not follow appropriate coastdown testing procedures on 2019 Ford Ranger trucks and the 2019 and 2018 F-150 Series truck and, the suit alleges, likely many other Ford vehicles. According to the complaint, a coastdown test is a procedure that determines metrics used to calculate a vehicles’ fuel economy values or “MPG Rating.” Coastdown testing tells a manufacturer how much rolling resistance and drag a vehicle has, which is in turn applied to simulate road conditions during regulatory testing.

Based on the manipulated coastdown testing results, the window stickers on the vehicles in question stated that the vehicles get 26.6 MPG on the highway and 19.6 MPG during city driving conditions. Subsequent, accurate coastdown testing on the vehicles revealed that the actual statistics were 22.7 MPG highway and 17.7 MPG city. Plaintiffs argued that Ford manipulated the outcomes knowing that fuel economy is material to many consumers. The exaggerated fuel economy numbers resulted in an overstatement of 10% on city mileage and 8% on highway resulting in increased fuel costs of an extra $2,324 in city driving fuel costs per vehicle.

The suit brings causes of action for violations of the California Unfair Competition Laws, Violations of the California False Advertising Law, Breach of Contract, fraudulent concealment and Violations of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The suit is: Brewer et al v. Ford Motor Co., Case No.: 2:19-cv-12135, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.


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