Ford Motor Co. has launched a survey of whether the overloaded gas mileage and undervalued emissions from a wide range of vehicles. [1
Ford says it has no evidence yet that mileage or pollution figures are wrong, but the investigation has just started. The company says it is too early to tell how many and which models can be involved.
2019 FORD RANGER TEST DRIVE
Depending on what was found, Ford could be required to change the mileage of EPA approved window stickers and repay owners for the mileage difference. The company can also face penalties from the authorities.
"At Ford, we believe trust in our brand is earned by acting with integrity and openness," said Kim Pittel, the company's vice president of environment and security technology, Thursday. "We have a process to see how we perform and behave in our broad and complex company."
The US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, which monitor emissions and mileage, have been informed of the probe, according to the company.
EPA said in a statement that Ford revealed the problems on Tuesday.
"The investigation is ongoing and the information is too incomplete for the EPA to reach any conclusions," the agency said. "We take the potential issues seriously and follow up with the company to fully understand the circumstances behind this information."
The problems do not involve "defeat unit" software that activates emission control pollution controls and turns them off on the road, Ford said. For years, Volkswagen used a defeat unit to cheat on diesel emission tests until they were caught by university researchers and a nonprofit organization. Ford said the survey is focused on cars with petrol engines.
In an interview, Pittel said it is too early to tell how widespread the problem is, or whether it goes beyond 2017 models. "We're just going where the investigation takes us," she said. "We will be very, very thorough."
Most emissions and mileage tests are done by car manufacturers and spot-checked for accuracy by EPA and California. The test is performed on a dynamometer, which is a treadmill-like unit, and the mathematical model makes calculations for "road protection", which are wear from wind, tire resistance, drag from motor units and other factors.  "We have identified potential concerns about how we calculate road load," Pittel said.
If problems are discovered, it will not be the first time Ford has had to recover mileage. In 2014, Dearborn, Michigan, had to cut the window frame of six models, and had to pay thousands of dollars to over 200,000 owners after errors were discovered in how mileage was calculated. The company said the latest issues are not related to the 2014 issues. The company also had to switch mileage on the C-Max gas-electric hybrid in 2013.
The Ford cases came after an EPA survey in 2012 found inflated mileage of 13 Hyundai and Kia models, which affected 900,000 cars.