Ford investigating possible issues with fuel economy & emissions tests

Andrew Cummings
February 24, 2019

Ford Motor Co. may be suffering from déjà vu, the automaker announcing it is in the midst of self-imposed investigation of its fuel economy and testing procedures that may have produced incorrect mileage and emissions data.

Ford has hired outside experts to investigate its testing models and an independent laboratory to perform coastdown testing as part of the company's overall inquiry.

The first vehicle Ford is evaluating as part of its review is the 2019 Ranger pickup, which went on sale early this year. Kim Pittel, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, said that in September, employees raised a concern through regarding the analytical modeling that is part of Ford's U.S. fuel economy and emissions compliance process.

The problems do not involve "defeat device" software that activates pollution controls for emissions tests and turns them off on the road, according to Ford. It lowered fuel economy ratings for fix other models the next year.

While Ford shares fell as much as 3.3% after its disclosure, they were down 0.2% later in trading after the market close.

"At Ford, we believe that trust in our brand is earned by acting with integrity and transparency", Kim Pittel, the company's vice president for environment and safety engineering, said Thursday.

In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency said it takes "the potential issues seriously and are following up with the company to fully understand the circumstances behind this disclosure". Ford notified the agencies this week, she said. "We estimate the total investigation will take some extra months".

"I'm not too anxious about it for now, at least", David Whiston, an analyst with Morningstar Inc., said by phone. In 2013, the automaker cut by seven miles per gallon the claimed fuel economy for its C-Max hybrid model following complaints that real-world mileage did not match the claimed fuel economy.

In a statement cited by The Wall Street Journal, the EPA said that the information it received from Ford is "too incomplete for EPA to reach any conclusions" but that the agency will work alongside Ford as the investigation continues.

The automaker has had fuel-economy issues before.

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