Ford announced this past December that its 2019 Ford Ranger earned best fuel economy ratings among gas-powered midsize trucks—or did it?
The automaker announced today that Ranger will be the first among other Ford vehicles to be subjected to a fuel economy and emissions investigation following concerns that were raised within the company roughly three months before MPG figures were announced for Ranger.
“In September, a handful of employees raised a concern through our Speak Up employee reporting channel regarding the analytical modeling that is part of our U.S. fuel economy and emissions compliance process,” said Kim Pittel, Ford’s vice president of sustainability, environment & safety engineering.
“At Ford, we believe that trust in our brand is earned by acting with integrity and transparency,” Pittel continued. “As part of this, we have a process for looking at how we perform and behave in our broad and complex company.”
Ford has hired an outside an outside firm to investigate the validity of its vehicle road load specifications used in its testing and applications to certify emissions and fuel economy. Ford also notified the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
Ford reports that it’s hired independent industry technical experts as part of its investigation team. An independent lab has also been retained to conduct physical track tests, or coastdown testing.
Pittel also made it clear what the investigation will not entail.
“The investigation and potential concerns do not involve the use of defeat devices in our products,” Pittel said.
Last December, Ford announced that 2019 Ranger earned EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 21 MPG city, 26 MPG highway and 23 mpg combined for 4×2 trucks (top numbers for city and combined MPG). When configured as a 4×4, Ranger was said to get 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, the best-in-class EPA-estimated city fuel economy rating of any gasoline-powered 4×4 midsize pickup. Those ratings, along with emissions data, may remain unchanged following the investigation.
“At this time, there’s been no determination that this affects Ford’s fuel economy labels or emissions certifications,” Pittel said.