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Ford Settling with Focus, Fiesta Owners over Troublesome Dual-Clutch Transmission

Colin Beresford

From Car and Driver

  • Ford has proposed a settlement in a $30 million lawsuit over PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmissions in 2011–2016 Fiesta and 2012–2016 Focus vehicles.
  • Ford also revealed that it has spent $47.4 million on vehicle buybacks already.
  • A federal judge will rule on the settlement on February 28.

Ford has proposed an updated settlement of a minimum of $30 million in cash reimbursement in a class-action lawsuit over problems with dual-clutch automatic transmissions in Focus and Fiesta vehicles. The settlement could affect as many as two million owners of 2011 to 2016 Fiesta or 2012 to 2016 Focus cars.

The manufacturer has also proposed a simplified method for compensation and vehicle buybacks; Ford has already spent $47.4 million on buying back vehicles from customers, according to a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The settlement is up for approval by a federal judge at a February 28 hearing.

"Ford believes the settlement is fair and reasonable, and we anticipate it will be approved by the court following the hearing next month," Ford spokesman T.R. Reid told the Detroit Free Press. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2012.

The transmissions, internally referred to as DPS6, are dual-clutch six-speed automatics which use dry clutches and are prone to rough shifting, requiring frequent repairs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t found evidence the transmission poses a safety risk.

Photo credit: Ford

A Detroit Free Press investigative report last July cited internal documents showing that Ford knew the PowerShift transmission was rough but went through with production plans. Customers complain that the transmission shudders and vibrates when accelerating from a stop and that repeated repairs including clutch or entire transmission replacements don't permanently fix the problem. In August, Ford extended warranties for the affected owners to seven years or 100,000 miles and issued a statement saying, "While these vehicles always were and remain safe to drive, we regret the inconvenience our customers have experienced.”

The final settlement agreement is set for one month from today, February 28.

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