Fuel efficiency of a car is a major factor that many customers consider before buying a car. We know that the claimed mileage of most of the cars is different from the real world numbers. However one customer took things to next level and filed a case in Kerala Consumer Court after her Ford Fiesta failed to return the fuel efficiency avertised by the manufacturer. The Consumer Court has now awarded a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the customer in the case.
The car in question here is a Ford Fiesta sedan which was discontinued from the Indian market in 2015. It is powered by a 1.4 litre turbo diesel engine. A 1.6 litre petrol engine was also on offer. In 2011, an Indian automobile magazine did a cross country drive with both petrol and diesel versions of the sedan and in the drive, they managed to achieve over 32 kmpl by hypermiling. This is a huge mileage figure to a mid-size sedan. Ford was impressed with the numbers and they thought of advertising the same on their brochures. They advertised that the sedan is capable of achieving 32.38 kmpl.
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This advertisement is what actually created the whole issue. The customer Soudhamini PP, who filed the case only bought the car because of the 32.38 kmpl claim. After buying the car, they realised that the car was not offering them the claimed fuel economy and hence they went to the court. The customer was only getting around 16 kmpl for her sedan. This is not a bad number of a diesel sedan however, it wasn’t anywhere near to the figure published by the brand. The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Thrissur, presided over by President CT Sabu and members Sreeja S and Ram Mohan R, found that the advertised mileage was above 32 km/l while the result of the tests conducted by the expert commissioner was 19.6km/l.
The results proved that the actual mileage of the car was around 40 percent less than the one stated on the brochures and leaflets. This helped the court concluded that the manufacturer Ford India Pvt. Ltd. and the seller, Kairali Ford, had adopted an unfair trade practice in having stated a deceptive mileage for the car. As we mentioned above, the advertised fuel economy of the car was the only reason why the customer bought the car in first place. The court then awarded the customer Rs 1.5 lakh towards compensation for the financial losses inflicted and Rs 1.5 lakh towards the compensation of the hardship and agony she underwent. An additional of Rs 10,000 was also ordered to be paid to her towards the cost of litigation.
Soudhamini PP had purchased the Ford Classic (Fiesta) from Kairali Ford an authorised dealer of Ford cars in Kerala for Rs 8.94 lakh in 2014. The customer’s lawyer had sent notice to the opposite party but, they failed to respond and that is why she took things to the consumer court. In the court, the manufacturer mentioned that the fuel efficiency advertised by them was provided by a third party. They also mentioned that the fuel efficiency of the car would vary depending on the nature of the road and traffic conditions.