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False fuel claims: Ford SA responds

2016-09-01 10:11

Janine Van der Post

TAKEN TO TASK: Ford SA has been ordered to rectify fuel consumption figures displayed in its Kuga SUV brochures. Image: QuickPic

Cape Town - Earlier in August, Wheels24 reported that both Audi and Renault landed in hot water due to complaints lodged with the Advertising Standards Association.

In the same month, Ford South Africa suffered a similar incident due to a complaint about it's Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost engines were advertised with false fuel consumption. The automaker claims that its Kuga achieves 7.0-litres/100km in its brochures and advertising.

Wheels24 received many responses from disgruntled Kuga owners sharing their experiences with dubious fuel-consumption claims.

READ: Ford SA to pull Kuga brochure over false fuel claims - ASA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post spoke with Ford SA's director of sales marketing and service, Neale Hill, to find out how the automaker plans to resolve customers' issues.


1. Regarding the Kuga SUV, how is the complainant able to achieve 12 litres/100km if the advertised fuel consumption is 7.0 - 7.7 litres/100km? 
NH: Ford is committed to providing our customers with fuel efficient vehicles and the best possible driving and ownership experience.

Ford Kugas sold in South Africa have their fuel economy declarations authenticated and approved by the UK Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA). In SA, we are obliged to publish fuel economy figures according to the legislated technical specifications (SANS 20101: 2006 / UNECE R101: 2005). These international test standards are designed to enable comparisons between different vehicle types and different manufacturers.

W24: Why are SA Ford owners are reaching high fuel-consumption figures?
NH: Customer’s on-the-road fuel economy can vary based on factors such as: traffic and road conditions; ambient temperature (use of the air-conditioner); terrain; driving behaviour; tyre pressures; vehicle load, etc.   

W24: What action will be taken to regarding the affected brochures and windscreen stickers? 
NH: We will be amending the presentation of the fuel economy data in our relevant communications materials for the Ford Kuga.

W24: Is Ford SA planning to address false fuel claims made by readers?
NH: As per point one above, we believe that we follow the appropriate procedure in terms of fuel consumption declarations, and are committed to providing our customers with both fuel efficient vehicles and the best possible driving and ownership experience.

W24: What other initiatives does Ford SA have in place (such as the Driving Skills for Life)? How will these programmes benefit consumers?
NH: We offer the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program in South Africa. DSFL is a comprehensive driving program created by Ford to promote a safe and efficient driving culture among drivers. The program is based on a range of core learning outcomes focusing on protective driving techniques. It aims to increase awareness among licensed drivers of all ages of safe driving techniques, introduce smart driving practices that improve fuel efficiency and reduce fuel consumption and lastly to minimize the spread of CO2 emissions in the environment.

We also fully support efforts to ensure that test procedures closely match the on-road conditions that customers experience under normal driving. That is why Ford has supported - and is involved in - the development of the World Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) which addresses this concern.

Readers' fuel consumption habits

We asked Wheels24 readers about their fuel consumption habits. Here are the results: 

Do you trust claimed fuel consumption figures?
1514 users said Yes (9%), while a whopping 91% (14847 votes) said they do not trust automaker's figures. Wheels24 will follow-up with various organisations regarding claimed fuel consumption.

Are you achieving your vehicle's claimed fuel consumption?
Yes - 28% 4668 users
No - 9297 (55%)
2995 users (18%) stated they wouldn't know how to go about achieving their vehicle's claimed fuel consumption.

Do you take steps to reduce your vehicle's fuel consumption?
Yes - 11 367 (71%)
No - 4643 readers (29%)

Not all Ford Kuga owners agree with the false fuel claims lodges with the ASA and are achieving  claimed fuel-consumption figures. 

Users respond:

Gerald Parker: If any one would read the notes at the bottom of the specification sheets they would see that the consumption figures are obtained during LABORATORY TESTING according to legislated technical specifications and are for comparing different vehicles consumption figures.
ALL vehicles are tested in the same laboratory and figures are for comparative purposes ONLY. Brochures also state and I quote: "Note that the actual fuel consumption and emission levels will depend on many factors including individual driving habits prevailing conditions and vehicle's equipment, condition and use".

While others are displeased:

Dale Terblanche-Nathanson: Wow I love my Kuga but have been told that I am a hard driver with my fuel consumption sitting at 12.7 litres/100km! WTF sooo clearly it's NOT me. I was also told I got the runt of the litter and have had my computer adjusted twice to improve fuel consumption .... Thanks for nothing, FORD.

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