The American car manufacturer has been hit with thousands of complaints relating to the PowerShift dual-clutch transmission of the Focus and Fiesta models, but declined to make an expensive change in order to resolve the issue.
The report reveals that some of the problems stemmed from the fact that Ford only decided to use a dual-clutch transmission late in the design of the two models and hadn’t previously offered such a gearbox in the U.S. market.
Engineers repeatedly warned Ford that the transmission was not ready, but the company pushed through with releasing the cars, knowing full well that issues persisted with the dual-clutch. Shortly after the cars launched, the complaints started to flood into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Detroit Free Press reports that no less than 4,300 complaints were made, many related to issues which saw the vehicles slip into neutral unexpectedly. For the following five years, the Blue Oval said it was trying to find a fix but refused to issue a recall and told dealerships to inform customers that the cars operated normally.
On March 24, 2017, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Ford addressing the complaints of 1.9 million current or former owners of 2012-2016 Focus and 2011-2016 Fiesta models built with Ford’s DCT. The automaker offered a settlement deal of $35 million, but in May, it was revealed that that settlement would be appealed because it was considered too favorable to Ford.