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Ford lowers mileage estimate for hybrid crossover

A 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi is on display during a news conference to mark the official production launch of the vehicle at the Michigan Assembly Plant i...
A 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi is on display during a news conference to mark the official production launch of the vehicle at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan in November. REBECCA COOK

Facing numerous complaints and a class-action lawsuit, Ford is lowering the mileage estimate for its C-Max hybrid crossover vehicle. Sources tell CNBC the company is dropping its previous estimate for 47 miles per gallon to 43 MPG combined city-highway—a reduction of just under 10 percent.

The C-Max doesn't have big sales volume, with units sold totaling 23,040 this year. That represents less than 2 percent of Ford's U.S. sales year to date.

(Read moreDon't expect Ford Hybrid MPG dispute to slow sales)

The change in mileage is not a surprise, given the controversy swirling around the mileage estimates for both the C-Max and the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Last December, Consumer Reports said that its researchers got just 37 MPG combined for the C-Max in real-world test conditions. There have been other reports since of C-Max owners coming up with mileage below the estimate stated on the window sticker.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been looking into the methods automakers use to calculate MPG estimates for new vehicles.

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews.

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