Last year, Ford (NYSE:F) made some waves when, in response to consumer complaints, it lowered the EPA-approved fuel economy rating on its C-Max hybrid hatchback after it was made clear that regardless of what the company did, the vehicle wouldn’t be able to live up to 47 mile-per-gallon pledge that it was initially adorned with. As it turned out, the “one-size-fits-all” approach employed by the EPA’s testing wasn’t working out so well in real-life driving.
The C-Max soon took on a new rating of 43 miles per gallon combined, and sales because to falter. As it turns out, there appeared to be little in the C-Max once its stellar fuel economy was removed from the equation; things are slated to only get worse for the troubled MPV, though, as Ford has lowered its fuel estimates yet again. But this time, there are five other models joining it.
The slate of models undergoing the changes are the C-Max, Fusion, and MKZ models (both hybrid and plug-in varieties), and the entire lineup of 2014 Fiesta engines, with the exception of the ST, though it includes the new 1.0 liter EcoBoost three-cylinder. Ford said that it identified an error with fuel economy ratings on certain vehicles through its internal testing and notified the EPA, adding that it worked with the government agency as it retested the vehicles to determine the correct fuel economy ratings.
“Ford is absolutely committed to delivering top fuel economy and accurate information,” CEO Alan Mulally said. “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.”
As a part of the process, Ford put its entire lineup under the microscope to ensure that the vehicles were labeled and analyzed correctly. In order to maintain consumer trust, Ford said that it will be making goodwill payments to owners of the approximately 200,000 affected vehicles in the U.S. for the difference between the previous and revised ratings.
“This is our error. When we see an issue, we address it,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development, in the company’s statement. “That is why we notified EPA and lowered the fuel economy ratings for these vehicles.”
The C-Max now has a 40 mile-per-gallon combined rating (37 highway and 43 city), the Fusion hybrid has a combined rating of 42 miles per gallon (down from 47), the Lincoln MKZ hybrid is now awarded with a 38 mile-per-gallon rating (down from 45), and the Fiesta saw a 1 mile per gallon reduction, to 37. The other Fiesta engines also saw a 1 mile per gallon drop — not nearly as dramatic as the hybrid models.
It will be interesting to see if this issue has a material effect on Ford’s progress toward falling in compliance with the CAFE standards. One or two models may not have changed Ford’s overall fleet rating, but six could pose a risk to the company’s compliance timeframe.
One car in Ford’s stable doesn’t have to worry about complying: the Shelby GT500, which recently found its way onto our list of the fastest cars produced in America. Check out below to see where it fell, and head over to the full list to see what took the top slot.
7. Ford Shelby Mustang GT500: 205 miles per hour
The Shelby Mustang GT500 offers bona-fide super car performance with a top speed of 205 miles per hour, despite a price tag at under $60,000. Loaded with a well-tuned 5.8-liter supercharged V8 aluminum-block engine, the GT500 can pump out a 662 horsepower punch at 6,500 rpms. The GT500 employs a classic design, tailored towards fans of Mustangs from the early years of production. As one of Ford’s most impressive models of all time, it sits in esteemed company on the list of the fastest American cars ever made.
6. Ford GT: 205 miles per hour
A rare model in the Ford lineup, the latest rendition of the GT was a two-seater sports car produced for only two years, 2005 and 2006. Engineers got their inspiration for the GT’s design from sports cars of the past, giving fans of Ford’s older models much reason for excitement. Not only did the GT excite with its looks, but also with its performance. The GT could hit speeds of 205 miles per hour, thanks to the 550 horsepower supplied by the 5.4-liter supercharged modular V8 engine. The car also included a manual 6-speed transmission, making it among the most fun vehicles to hit the open road with in recent memory. Though its top speed is tied with the Shelby GT500, it’s half a second quicker to 60, giving it the edge.
5. SRT Viper: 206 miles per hour
Having survived the Fiat-Chrysler (FIATY.PK) changes, although with a new brand name, the SRT Viper finds its way onto the list with a top speed of 206 miles per hour. The Viper comes with a relatively “low” price tag of $97,000, which may seem like a bargain compared to other cars on the list. The newer iterations of the Viper employ an 8.4 liter, 640 horsepower V10 engine, capable of going from 0-60 in around three seconds. SRT is really giving Ford and Chevrolet a run for their money, as the Viper has become a formidable and speedy adversary to the Corvette and Mustang. Despite the new Italian parentage, the Viper is still made in Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit.
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