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Driver compensated after car fails to achieve claimed fuel consumption

Driver compensated after car fails to achieve fuel consumption claims

A man in New Zealand has been awarded $6,000 in compensation after his Ford Kuga failed to reach the manufacturer’s claimed fuel economy figures.

Bruce Campbell bought a Ford Kuga Titanium Ecoboost AWD last year, reports the NZ Herald, after being told it’d use 7.7 litres of petrol per 100km (36.7mpg).

But Campbell could not achieve better fuel economy than 9.7 litres per 100km (29.1mpg) – and at one point the Kuga was averaging 12.9 litres per 100km (21.9mpg).

When he contacted his dealer, Wanganui Motors, they told him the car was still ‘bedding-in’ and fuel economy would improve.

The owner kept the car for around 11,000km (6,835 miles) before trading it in and taking his dealer to an official disputes tribunal.

The tribunal found that Campbell had been misled but the dealer had relied on incorrect information given by Ford.

He was awarded $6,000 in compensation – 0.75c for every km he travelled in the car.

Do car manufacturers in the UK mislead customers in fuel economy claims?

It’s fair to say that, in the UK, most drivers will struggle to reach the official fuel consumption figures provided by manufacturers.

That doesn’t mean that we will be able to sue manufacturers for false MPG claims, however.

All new models are put through a strict fuel economy test known as the ‘NEDC’ (New European Driving Cycle).

This standardised test measures a car’s performance in laboratory conditions and has been criticised for not replicating real-world conditions.

This means the official fuel consumption figures do differ from those you’re likely to achieve – but they still allow buyers to compare models like-for-like.

As this is an official European test, manufacturers have no control over the outcome. Therefore, it would not be possible to challenge their ‘claimed’ fuel economy figures.

More on Motoring Research:

Mitsubishi hits out at ‘irresponsible’ claims that MPG figures are misleading

2017 real-world emissions mpg test approved by EU

3 replies
  1. Ron
    Ron says:

    Our system is very good as it is an equal playing field allowing consumers to compare different cars. It was never intended to be used as a selling tool unlike the early days when cars were doctored to give high figures to get around advertising rules. So the figures are academic except to check whether a car is better or worse than another.

    • motoringresearch
      motoringresearch says:

      Makers certainly stress that aspect, Ron – use mpg figures as comparisons between cars, rather than a guaranteed average. Smart shoppers also look at urban and extra urban figures for more granular insight!

    • Alex McIl
      Alex McIl says:

      Also Ron,

      It is apparently the case that the playing field theory is not the case (at least from what I have read). The NEDC is so out of date and full of loopholes, that it is entirely possible that a car A, with a higher mpg on the sticker, is in fact less efficient than car B with a lower mpg sticker.
      For eg, on this infographic (based on Which’s?) findings you will see that:

      1) Removal of vehicle parts. How can this be equal playing field when some manufacturers will remove certain parts and other will not?

      2) Same test procedure can be done in different credited labs. How can this be equal playing field when different equipment are used?

      3) Excess inflation of tyre pressure. How can this be the same playing field when manufacturers will be selecting a whole host of different pressures?

      4) Some cars have an echo mode for urban driving which manufactures can select during the test. This is perfectly suited for manufacturers due to the mundane slow speeds the NEDC do their test in. How is this the same playing field? Surely the cars need to have the test done while on their default settings and then can claim higher mpg is likely if driving on eco mode>

      5) 4% can be taken off the results. How is this the same playing field when some manufactures will remove the 4% and some will not?

      List goes on


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