Ford Fiesta Sales Continued Despite Known Defects

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August 01, 2019
Edward Smith

Ford Fiesta Sales Continued Despite Known Defects

The transmissions in Ford Fiesta and Focus vehicles sold after 2010 were known to be defective before production began. Yet, the company introduced its new transmission to the public. Owners complained that the transmission moved into neutral when gears shifted, and the shifting was described as jerky. The defective transmissions also caused the vehicles to bolt into cross streets after stopping and lose their power at highway speeds. Despite evidence to the contrary, Ford has defended its position on the car’s safety and continued selling the cars without major changes, leading to numerous complaints and lawsuits. 

What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do

In cases involving product liability, a personal injury lawyer will fight for a consumer’s right to a safe product. Our investigators begin by researching the defect. After accumulating data that proves the product was unsafe, our lawyers move forward with a product liability lawsuit. We are cognizant of the trust individuals put into the products they buy and recognize the stress involved when an item fails to meet consumer standards. We also recognize the risk of injury and the financial burden this can place on the owner. By building a strong case against the manufacturer, we are able to recover the compensation our clients deserve.

Ford Ignores Warnings From Its Own Engineers

Ford ignored internal warnings from company engineers about the potential for accidents due to the faulty transmission before production started. Instead, the company continued with its plans to sell the vehicles to unwary customers. The company even told dealers to assure customers that the car had no flaws associated with it and operated well. Once the problem became blatantly obvious, Ford sought to find a fix rather than embrace an expensive transmission change. This continued over a five-year period as owners tried to fix the transmission on their own, an effort that met with little success. 

Problems With Ford Fiesta Noticed in 2010

The new Fiesta model was delivered to showrooms in 2010, and its good looks, low price, and fuel efficiency won over many buyers. Their low fuel consumption was the result of the new dual-clutch transmission found in these vehicles. Ford called the new transmission “PowerShift.”  Approximately 1.5 million of these cars are still active on the roads in all 50 states.

Troubles at Ford

The 2012-2016 Ford Focus and the 2011-2016 Ford Fiestas are now the subjects of a class-action lawsuit and many personal lawsuits against the company. Approximately two million individuals stand to be compensated. Ford extended the power train warranty from two years and 40,000 miles to seven years and 100,000 miles in 2014. Ford also began to make improvements after the 2016 model year.  

The Problem With the Transmission

The dual-clutch transmission has admirable traits such as improving fuel economy and faster shifts unseen in common automatics. But, the PowerShift transmission is known to behave badly when shifting gears. The tendency for the clutch to slip when starting off from a standing position is often seen in manual transmissions as well.  Other vehicle makers such as Porsche and Audi also use dual-clutch transmissions, but they differ from that used in the Ford Fiesta and Focus. The others use a wet clutch while Ford uses a dry one. The problem with a dry transmission is that it does not use hydraulic fluid to coat the friction discs, providing a rougher takeoff. 

One Owner’s Situation

One Michigan woman, Michelle Hughes of Flint, bought a new Ford Fiesta in 2011. Hughes said she was impressed by the Fiesta’s low mileage when she bought it outright with money her grandmother left her. After driving it for a while, her Fiesta suddenly started acting up by not moving when she stepped on the gas pedal at an intersection or stop sign. However, seconds later, she noted the vehicle would lunge forward into the intersection.

She was afraid to use the Fiesta anymore, but she was unable to afford a new vehicle. Hughes was told she was not eligible for the buyback program and now must rely on other means of transportation to get to work. Multiply Hughes’ frustration by thousands of angry customers, and you have an idea of what has led many Fiesta owners to say they would never buy a Ford product again.

Current Situation

The current status of Ford’s failure to correct the problem and satisfy disgruntled customers is now at a standstill. About $35 million is pending in a class-action settlement. This does not cover the mechanic bills Fiesta and Focus owners have accumulated since they purchased their vehicles. This works out well for the automaker. Groups are avidly protesting the proposed settlement. Many Ford owners are choosing to sue the carmaker personally, foregoing the class-action route. Some owners have won up to three times the original cost of their vehicles.

Product Liability Cases

Under California product liability law, a consumer does not need to prove that the item was defective. Instead, they need to show that when used in the way for which it was intended, the product caused financial or physical injury to the owner. Since companies have the obligation of making a safe product, they are liable for the damages a person incurs. 

Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento auto accident attorney. Financial loss due to a defective product can be devastating. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also contact me online if it is easier for you. 

I’ve helped numerous Sacramento residents over the past 37 years obtain the compensation they deserve in all types of car accidents among other traumatic incidents. 

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