Ford Is Staring Down A $4 Billion Lawsuit For Allegedly Hiding Faulty Focus, Fiesta Transmissions From Customers

Ford Is Staring Down A $4 Billion Lawsuit For Allegedly Hiding Faulty Focus, Fiesta Transmissions From Customers
This lawsuit alleges Ford lied to consumers about issues with its PowerShift dual-clutch transmission.

Ford then blamed the drivers for the problems, according to the lawsuit.

1.9 million unhappy Ford Focus and Fiesta owners are taking Ford to court. They have filed a class-action lawsuit saying the company lied to unload cars with faulty transmissions onto unsuspecting buyers. Last month, Ford’s lawyer Ryan Wu appealed to a group of judges to lower the settlement amount from $4 billion to $35 million.

Ford customers claimed in legal filings their 2012 – 2016 Focus and 2011 – 2016 Fiesta models with PowerShift dual-clutch 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.” Ford provided a statement to the Detroit Free Press on the matter Thursday. That statement said, “we look forward to final court approval” on the lower settlement.

Judges are currently deciding whether to uphold or throw out that settlement. Michael Kirkpatrick of Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C. consumer group, called the settlement a sweet deal for Ford. On the other hand, he contends it is little compensation for its customers.

“A windfall release”

“This is a windfall release for Ford,” Kirkpatrick told the Free Press. “People would be giving up their claims of very high value. We know Ford has been settling cases for $75,000 right off the bat when people bring their own lawsuits under California consumer protection law.” Consumers brought up to 1,200 individual cases against Ford alleging consumer fraud in California. In Michigan, Ford faces a “mass action” lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, representing 12,300 buyers.

Ford called the $35 million settlement “fair and appropriate”, and denies the allegations in the larger class-action lawsuit. A decision on Ford’s appeal is expected to come by December, according to the Free Press report. This lawsuit is separate from another class-action lawsuit Ford is currently facing. That lawsuit, reported earlier this week, alleges Ford deceived customers about the fuel economy figures of the 2019 Ranger pickup.