Ford’s PowerShfit dual clutch transmission has been under hot water as of the moment. The clunky and unrefined gearbox has led to numerous customer complaints, even resulting in lawsuits in Australia and Thailand, both of which Ford lost their cases there.
However, it seems the transmission’s woes are far from over as a new report from the Detroit Free Press states that Ford Motor Co. lied in order to unload cars with faulty transmissions on unsuspecting customers and then blaming the drivers for the problems they have experienced.
More than 1.9 million Ford Focus (2012 to 2016) and Fiesta (2011 to 2016) owners have reported that their car’s transmissions were prone to “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.”
Whereas previous cases were due to the PowerShift transmission’s faulty nature, this new one claims the possibility of Ford being aware of the transmission’s problems and did nothing about it.
“What makes this case potentially costly is not the faulty manufacturing but the idea that Ford hid the problem,” said multiple lawyers interviewed by the Detroit Free Press who are working on the case.
Ford has extended the powertrain warranty from five years or 60,000 miles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is in addition to more than 20 technical service bulletins relating to the PowerShift transmission, with none of them being a “consistently reliable repair,” as reported by Carscoops in 2017.
“This is about deceptive practices,” says Michael Kirkpatrick of Public Citizen, a nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based consumer group handling the case for free. “And these problems actually can’t be fixed. Ford kept giving extended warranties. Why isn’t that good enough? Because this isn’t like having worn out brake pads and replacing the pads. These cars are notorious for transmission problems. It’s because Ford lied.”
“There are some basics that we all expect to not have to worry about with our cars: Do they start? Are they safe? Will it drive as if it was built in the 21st Century and not as if it had a transmission built by the first assembly line conceived of by Henry Ford?” says Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety based in Washington, D.C. “The thousands of complaints by Ford owners about the transmission problems in these vehicles and a lack of a comprehensive fix being put forth by the manufacturer speaks volumes about the way Ford treats its customers.“
In response, the American brand said to the Detroit Free Press that “Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles. We continue to deny the allegations in this lawsuit, but rather than continuing with the litigation, Ford entered into a settlement agreement with lawyers representing these plaintiffs. That settlement is fair and appropriate and we look forward to final court approval.”
According to the lawyers involved with the case, a ruling will likely come by December.