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Car shoppers who recently bought a C-MAX Hybrid gas-electric car from Ford (NYSE: F ) can expect to be getting a check in the mail soon.
On Thursday after market close, Ford announced a series of upgrades to the 2014 model year of the C-MAX Hybrid, ranging from improved gearing and more aerodynamic pillars and deflectors to reduce wind drag to higher-quality engine oil. "The enhancements to the 2014 C-MAX Hybrid are expected to improve customers' on-road fuel economy, especially at highway speeds," said Ford in a statement.
The company also had an announcement to make about fuel economy per se. Finally reacting to criticism that its claimed "47 miles per gallon" fuel economy on the car vastly overstated the C-MAX's actual performance in real life, Ford announced Thursday that it is voluntarily changing the way it measures fuel economy for the C-MAX, which so far has been essentially to test the fuel economy on the company's Fusion Hybrid ... and then assume the same fuel economy applied to the C-MAX as well.
While insisting that this approach conforms to the Environmental Protection Agency's "General Label rules" for advertising fuel economy, Ford says that from here on out, it will test fuel economy on the C-MAX separately and reduce its claimed gas mileage on the vehicle to 43 mpg. To compensate buyers who bought the car on the assumption that the old mpg number was accurate, Ford says it will make "goodwill payments" of $550 to current C-MAX owners and $325 to lessees.