Ford Faces Trial on MPG Estimates as Judge Refuses to Toss Suit

  • Sale of more vehicles reasonable motive for fraud, judge says
  • Buyers' lawyer says automaker went `too far' with ad campaign

Ford Motor Co. will have to face trial over claims that it exaggerated fuel-efficiency estimates for its Fusion and C-Max hybrids after a federal judge in New York on Nov. 12 denied the company’s request to throw the case out.

Ford buyers sued in 2013 questioning claims that the vehicles could get 47 miles per gallon. “Ford implicitly recognized that its advertising campaign was misleading,” U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas said in a ruling dismissing the carmaker’s request to toss the suit.

The car buyers’ fraud claims are sufficiently specific and they cite a reasonable motive -- that is, the automaker wanted to sell more vehicles, Karas wrote.

Ford “simply went too far” with their advertising, and “we are looking forward to moving ahead with the litigation,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Dearman said in an e-mailed statement.

Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on the ruling.

The case is In re Ford Fusion and C-Max Fuel Economy Litigation, 13-md-2450, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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