Like Its Transmissions, Ford's Powershift Woes Are Surging

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
like its transmissions ford s powershift woes are surging

The problematic dual-clutch transmission that owners love to hate has made enemies around the globe, and yet another country is ready to send its PowerShift anger Ford’s way.

Canadian Ford owners are poised to join the U.S. and Australia in leveling a class-action lawsuit against the automaker over the balky automated manual transmission, which many claim is unsafe. Meanwhile, the Great White North’s transportation regulator has the Blue Oval in its sights, and a future recall isn’t off the table.

While known for their politeness, nothing gets a Canuck peeved like multiple tranny swaps.

Much like in the U.S., PowerShift anger has percolated north of the border since the launch of the 2011 Focus and Fiesta. Complains rolled in almost immediately over vehicles bucking, surging and stalling, and drivers of traditional automatics certainly weren’t accustomed to smelling a burnt clutch after hard acceleration.

A hastily prepared software update designed to smooth the unit’s schizophrenic shifting hasn’t erased the issue. Neither has numerous technical service bulletins and expanded warranty coverage for certain parts.

According to CBC, one Halifax, Nova Scotia man is cooling his heels as he awaits his third transmission or clutch replacement. There’s only 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles) on his 2013 Focus.

“It would go from bumping to, all of a sudden, the car would jerk forward five or seven feet,” said Jordan Bonaparte. “The biggest issue at first was my fear of hitting the car in front of me or slowing down and having the car behind me hit me.”

Bonaparte’s vehicle would sometimes roll backwards on hill as he tried to accelerate from a stop. Of course, these complaints aren’t new to owners in the U.S. or Australia. Still, when multiple trips to the dealer fails to fix the issue, customers inevitably look to the automaker for a solution. (Or compensation.)

In an email to TTAC, Ford spokeswoman Michelle Lee-Gracey said, “We currently have customer service programs active which extend the warranty on certain parts to as much as 10 years of service or 240,000 kilometres from the warranty start date of the vehicle, whichever occurs first.”

Lee-Gracey said the company encourages owners who experience transmission problems to see their dealership service adviser “to discuss their options” or to call Ford Canada’s Customer Relations Center.

Transport Canada has already opened a “defect investigation” into 2011-2016 Fiesta and 2012-2016 Focus models equipped with PowerShift transmissions. It takes a safety hazard to prompt a recall, so those complaints must be weeded out from ones related to driveability. Some complaints, like loss of power, could be one and the same.

While some owners head to dealers in search of a fix, others have chosen a different route. A class-action lawsuit prepared by Ted Charney of Toronto law firm Charney Lawyers has now grown to about 1,000 names. Charney claims some owners he’s spoken with are on their seventh transmission.

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2 of 54 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on Nov 09, 2016

    Another great example of Big Al's "profits now, recalls later" business model.

  • Theoldguard Theoldguard on Nov 10, 2016

    In 2012 I bought two PowerShud-d-d-ers and both have had to be rebuilt. It's a sad story, made even sadder by the fact that apart from the transmissions, the Fiesta and Focus are good in their class. What I don't get is that five years later Ford is still producing them. They know they will be replacing a lot of them, and man hours it is costing has to erase any profit they had made. Has there been a worse automotive transmission in recent history, or ever?

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