Yet another oversight at the Blue Oval…
The chip shortage hasn’t been kind to Ford. Here in North America, it’s perhaps the most affected automaker, having to shut down entire facilities at times to save on its dwindling semiconductor supply. However, the Blue Oval is hardly alone when it comes to deleting some features on vehicles to conserve on chips, so you might be wondering why in Australia Ford is paying out $110,000 to about 100 Ranger owners after it deleted the stop-start systems on trucks.
Watch the latest Motorious Podcast here.
After all, other automakers have had to remove features which depletes fuel efficiency gains, meaning consumers will have to buy more gas or diesel. The Rangers in question are powered by the twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an engine Ford proudly marketed not only as plenty capable but as one of the most fuel-efficient options. That means a lot of customers flocked to the Ranger to save on fuel costs.
One of the ways the Ranger and other modern vehicles save on fuel is through a stop-start system. These are designed to shut off the engine instead of letting the vehicle idle at lights, etc. The claim is that without this system installed, fuel consumption increased 8.1 percent. That’s supposed to be about $247 AUD extra in diesel each year.
Ford doesn’t have to keep these systems installed in trucks if it doesn’t want to right? True, but there was just one little detail Ford forgot before it deleted the feature: it left that information in the product brochure. Eventually, someone realized the mistake and the fine print was changed, but about 100 people bought trucks while the old marketing claims were made and not delivered.
Funny enough, this isn’t the first time Ford Australia has been caught making promises in writing it then didn’t deliver. The automaker got caught shorting customers on equipment for the new Mustang Mach 1 last year. To make amends, it offered either a $5,400 refund or a track day and free servicing package.
It can literally pay to read the fine print on something you’re going to buy, so keep that in mind the next time you’re car shopping.
Update: A Ford Australia spokesperson provided the following statement:
"Due to semi-conductor supply constraints, and to ensure customers received their vehicles without additional delay, certain Rangers arriving in Australia from January 2022 were produced without Auto Stop/Start. These include Ranger Double Cab XL, XLT, FX4, Wildtrak and Wildtrak X models fitted with our 2.0L BiTurbo engine with 10-speed automatic transmission.
As soon as the production change was initiated, dealers were informed and the brochure was immediately updated.
A small number of customers ordered their vehicle before the production change was announced, and we offered them a pre-paid Visa gift card of $1100 as compensation for this specification change."