Ford Transmission Lawsuit Powershifts Into Appeal Mode; How Much Green Will the Blue Oval Pay?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford transmission lawsuit powershifts into appeal mode how much green will the blue

A class-action lawsuit filed against Ford Motor company in 2017 is close to bearing fruit for nearly two million current or former owners, but Ford could find itself on the hook for far more than the $35 million reached in an earlier settlement.

The automaker is awaiting the results of an appeal by nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, which felt the 1.9 million Ford Focus and Fiesta buyers whose lives were disrupted by wonky PowerShift transmissions would only end up getting shafted, once again.

As it waits for the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, Ford claims the settlement was a fair one. The owners of 2012-2016 Focuses and 2011-2016 Fiestas beg to differ. Individual owners have already sued Ford and won big, compensating them for an unending nightmare of service trips and breakdowns.

In a message sent to the Detroit Free Press, the automaker said, “Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles. We continue to deny the allegations in this lawsuit, but rather than continuing with the litigation, Ford entered into a settlement agreement with lawyers representing these plaintiffs. That settlement is fair and appropriate and we look forward to final court approval.”

A ruling could come by December, the newspaper reports. If a panel of appellate judges decides in the litigants’ favor, Ford could be on the hook for a lot more than $35 million.

Michael Kirkpatrick of Public Citizen thinks Ford believes there’s a chance the earlier settlement will be tossed out.

“Given the way the oral argument went, Ford’s lawyers anticipate losing the appeal,” Kirkpatrick said of the April 8th hearing. “And they want to get out ahead of this. They have this huge liability they thought they had put to bed through a class-action settlement that was an exceptionally good deal for them.”

Ford’s troubles with its six-speed dual-clutch automatic are well documented. Numerous service bulletins, software reflashes, and lawsuits later, it still hasn’t put the trouble-plagued tranny in the past. The current class action involves 1.5 million current and 400,000 former owners. Owners who choose to go it alone in their quest to sue Ford in the state of California number some 1,200. Another group hitting Ford with a “mass action” lawsuit in Wayne County, Michigan numbers 12,300.

Calls for a recall or buyback program fell on deaf ears in Dearborn. Instead, many owners say they were left in the lurch, even after repeated repairs that didn’t solve the problem.

“This was a windfall release for Ford,” Kirkpatrick told Freep. “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.”

He added, “Once Ford is released, they’re no longer bound. This is about fairness. Ford is purchasing a release from liability at a very low price. Most ‘class’ members will get nothing, and the attorneys make big fees.”

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  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on May 10, 2019

    F *cked O ver R eally D eeply Rolling dumpster fire vehicles, with possibly three exceptions out of their entire lineup, with what is one of the worst dealership networks and massive lack of consumer support by HQ, all reflected in resale values. Repeat Ford/Lincoln buyers are heavy into sadomasochism; each Ford/Lincoln vehicle should come with a large package of BDSM gear so that Ford/Lincoln dealerships can use restraints on vehicle owners and painfully penetrate them with all manner of injurious objects when they inevitably take their vehicles in for repairs a minimum 2 times per month.

    • See 1 previous
    • Darwinian Darwinian on May 13, 2019

      The real Truth About Cars. Just about given up on this site until this comment.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on May 11, 2019

    FWIW, my company's got a huge fleet consisting largely of PowerShift Foci. Maybe the fleet manager knows something I don't and is hating life, but my sense of them, about five years in, is they're just fine. The car itself drives great, and as long as you accept that the PowerShift transmission is a manual with a computer doing the clutchy parts for you, it's fine too.

  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.
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