Ford Motor Co. said it is investigating whether its vehicles have worse gas mileage and emit more pollutants than car, truck and SUV labels reveal — going back to 2017 models.
An anonymous reporting system at Ford raised the issue in September 2018, the company said.
Ford said it hired an outside team to evaluate whether Ford’s mathematical model was flawed in how it determined miles per gallon and emissions ratings.
To begin the review, Ford said, it will start testing the new 2019 Ranger midsize pickup, which just went on sale. And then other models would be tested.
The Ranger was recalled Feb. 6 for faulty wiring that can prevent the pickup from shifting properly and parking safely.
Ford officials emphasized that the fuel and emissions ratings inquiry is in its preliminary stages and nothing points to a problem at this time.
The company sold nearly 2.6 million Ford and Lincoln vehicles in 2017 and nearly 2.5 million vehicles in 2018, according to financial filings.
Ford spokesman Said Deep said: “As soon as we learned of our employee concerns in September, we engaged a third-party firm at the end of October to perform initial review, which ended in December. We began a full internal investigation in December, leading to this week’s voluntary disclosure about our investigation to the EPA and [the California Air Resources Board]. We estimate the full investigation will take several more months.”
Michael Abboud, EPA spokesman, confirmed that Ford contacted the EPA a few days before releasing a public statement.
“On Feb. 18, 2019, Ford disclosed to the U.S. EPA that it had discovered potential issues in its emissions certification processes,” Abboud said. “On Feb. 20, 2019, Ford briefed the agency on the information it has developed so far in the investigation. The investigation is ongoing and the information too incomplete for EPA to reach any conclusions.”
Late Thursday, Safe Climate Campaign, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club released a statement through the Sierra Club: “It’s shameful that Ford waited months to disclose issues with its emissions testing.”
Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book, praised Ford for being proactive and informing the public.
“I think it’s really smart for Ford to get in front of this circumstance,” he said. “Clearly, they discovered something that may suggest an inaccuracy in how they’re defining and determining their fuel economy for their cars. They started to dig into it and wanted to get a handle on the issue before they said anything. Now they’re letting everybody know.”