Why Did Ford Extend Its Warranty On My Ford Focus Or My Ford Fiesta?

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If you drive a Ford Focus or Ford Fiesta you probably just received a letter from Ford. This letter announces that Ford has decided to extend the warranty on the transmission on your vehicle. This letter followed thousands of customers who complained about a harsh shift or the basic handling of the transmission on the Focus or Fiesta vehicles. This letter announced that Ford had extended the warranty on your transmission to your warranty seven (7) years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Ford also announced that it was directing its dealerships to service your transmission free of charge.

Service my transmission? Didn’t the dealer tell you that there was nothing to fix? Didn’t the dealer tell you that your complaint was normal? Or that there was nothing to repair? What’s an “automated manual transmission?” You may say to yourself, “I thought I purchased an automatic transmission.” So what’s going on? If there’s nothing to repair, or my concerns are normal, why did Ford extend the warranty on my car? You may have a claim for a breach of warranty or a false advertising claim against Ford. Please contact Auto Fraud Legal Center for a free evaluation.

A brief explanation of the history of the transmission on the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta sheds light on these potential claims. First, the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta have the same transmission. Ford launched the new transmission in 2011. Ford first called the transmission an “automatic.” This transmission was praised as being “new technology” that was “fun to drive” and that was “smooth.” Chances are you purchased your Ford Focus or Ford Fiesta because you thought the vehicle had an automatic transmission. This automatic transmission is called a Dual Power Shift transmission, or “DPS6”.

The problem is that the transmission did not drive or function like an automatic transmission. The transmission did not meet peoples’ expectations, and started to complain to their local dealers wanting it to be fixed. Repairs were made under the Ford warranty. Typical complaints were a rough, jerky or shudder when shifting. These complaints were most noticeable when accelerating from a stop. These early repairs were unsuccessful.

Here is the problem. The Dual Power Shift transmission is not an automatic. Rather, it is two 3 speed manual transmissions “bolted” together. The vehicle has two (2) clutches, whereas a typical manual transmission has only one (1) clutch. A computer controls both clutches that enable the vehicle to shift up and down through the various gears. This is why the vehicle does not drive or feel like an automatic transmission. It is a computer controlled manual transmission vehicle.

In September 2012, Ford began to realize that it could not fix the complaints people had with the way the Focus and Fiesta shifted. Ford published a document for its dealerships entitled “Power Shift 6 Speed Transmission Operating Characteristics.” This document attempted to define the complaints that people had with their vehicles as being “normal.” These “normal” characteristics includes various whines, clicks, low speed grinding, and a trailer hitch feel. Chances are if these true operating characteristics were disclosed at the time of purchase, you would not have bought your Focus or Fiesta.

Dealerships occasionally provided a copy of this document to their customers. They did this to support the position that the complaints about the problematic shifting was not a defect, but a “normal characteristic” of the vehicle. Perhaps a dealer told this to you. We have seen various dealerships refusing to document transmission concerns on the repair orders because these concerns were considered “normal.”

How “normal” could this be? Shortly after defining normal people would consider to be a defective transmission, Ford published various Technical Service Bulletins to address the alleged “normal” characteristics. Remember, Ford’s marketing brochure describes the 2012 Ford Focus as “Not just fun to drive –it’s unforgettable to drive.” The problem is the Ford Focus is “unforgettable to drive” for all the wrong reasons due to the intermittent jerk and shudder on acceleration.

On September 5, 2013, Ford published TSB 13-9-4 to address an Intermittent Transmission Clutch Shudder in the DPS6 transmission that may include fluid leak. This TSB superseded the following TSB’s: 13-4-5, 12-4-6, and 11-12-13. A TSB is an advisory issued by a vehicle manufacturer when there are several occurrences of an unanticipated problem requiring repair. TSBs can range from vehicle-specific to covering entire product lines and break down the specified repair into a step-by-step process. TSBs are widely circulated among dealership service departments and mechanics to provide an engineering-level description and solution for a problem common to type, year, make, or model of car. A well-managed TSB process can save technicians troubleshooting time, provide organized, itemized repair procedures, and standardize the repair process.

These TSBs confirm Ford and its dealerships knew the DPS6 transmission was defective, but made no efforts to change their marketing, description, or warranty. Ford and its dealerships continued to tout the DPS6. All the while Ford and its dealerships concealed the actual “Operating Characteristics.”

On March 11, 2014, Ford published TSB 14-0047. This TSB instructed dealerships to perform a pinpoint test to evaluate whether the transmission was problematic. The problem is that TSB stated that it was attempting to test for an“intermittent clutch shudder.” We believe that Ford developed this pinpoint test to create an “objective” test to reinforce its position that there was nothing wrong with your vehicle.

This now brings us to the current TSB14m01. Ford called this TSB a “Customer Satisfaction Program.” Many people do not realize that part of the Customer Satisfaction Program, Ford published yet another TSB. TSB 14-0131 superseded theprevious TSB. Ford has now changed the description to that of an “excessive transmission clutch shudder on light acceleration,” which may or may not include an internal fluid leak. Ford published this TSB on July 22, 2014, at about the same time Ford informed its dealers that the Customer Satisfaction Program was being released.

Here’s an issue that cannot be overlooked. Ford’s warranty specifically includes defects with the design of the vehicle:

Defects may be unintentionally introduced into vehicles during the design and manufacturing process and such defects could result in the need for repairs. For this reason, Ford provides the New Vehicle Limited Warranty in order to remedy any such defects that result in vehicle part malfunction or failure during the warranty period.

We believe that there is a defect with the design of the transmission for the 2012 – 2014 Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta. Please contact us for a free case evaluation.