By on July 11, 2019

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Making a mistake while trying to remedy an earlier one is a routine part of the human condition. We’re imperfect creatures and sometimes the easiest solution after a string of foulups is to just sweep something under the rug and hope nobody ever bothers to look there — even though they probably will. Incredibly, this logic can spread to an entire organization and with roughly the same effectiveness.

Earlier this week, Ford issued a safety recall on select Focuses manufactured within the last decade (1.5 million were recalled previously). But not before becoming the subject of a scathing report from the Detroit Free Press claiming the automaker knew the cars had bunk transmissions and did everything in its power to keep that under wraps in order to continue selling them. 

The report is brutal and includes supportive internal documents, court records, and corporate communications garnered through a lengthy investigation. The culprit of this drama is the Ford PowerShift (DPS6/Getrag 6DCT250) transmission found in third-gen Focuses (MY 2011-2018) and sixth-gen Fiestas (2011–2019). You might recall that both cars were subjected to class-action lawsuits from around the globe and routine complaints at home over their wonky, dual-clutch transmissions.

While Ford issued a few recalls on the vehicles, including the most-recent one, the transmission was never officially a part of them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration even looked into the matter in 2014, but Ford seemingly convincing it that the issue was the result of wear and tear — not a manufacturing defect. However customers were complaining about power losses, cars randomly shifting into neutral, and sudden acceleration immediately after both vehicles went on sale.

Apparently, Ford was fully aware of the problem and was even working in a clandestine manner to find a way to fix it. But the cars went — and remained — on sale, despite the company being advised against it by both engineers and its legal council.

From the Detroit Free Press:

The automaker pushed past company lawyers’ early safety questions and a veteran development engineer’s warning that the cars weren’t roadworthy, internal emails and documents show. Ford then declined, after the depth of the problem was obvious, to make an expensive change in the transmission technology.

Instead, the company kept trying to find a fix for the faulty transmission for five years while complaints and costs piled up. In the interim, Ford officials prepared talking points for dealers to tell customers that the cars operated normally when, in fact, internal documents are peppered with safety concerns and descriptions of the defects.

Some of the earliest stem from 2008, when Ford’s lawyers told engineers they were worried about the safety of dual-clutch technology, which had previously given Volkswagen some serious headaches. But the cars were being developed in the midst of the recession, discouraging Ford from making a costly, last-minute change. Instead, the automaker openly proclaimed the DPS6 as a breakthrough in performance and economy.

That same year, Ford quality supervisor Johann Kirchhoffer told the lawyers that a transmission slipping into neutral wasn’t a big deal in itself. “We have evidence that VW had a recall of a number of transmissions with a potential ‘Unintended Neutral’ occurring with low volumes,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We are pursuing any effort to reduce the occurrence of an ‘Unintended Neutral’ event to a so-called ‘Broadly Acceptable level.'”

The back and forth continued, bringing in more voices, but the Fiesta went on sale with the transmission anyway. At the time, it was unclear what had been done to remedy the issue. However, the matter came around again when the it came time to install the transmission into the Focus.

In 2010, product development engineer Tom Langeland told supervisors that something was desperately wrong with the car. He criticized the vehicle for having a “nasty launch judder” and too much vibration. “We also cannot achieve a driveable calibration that will get us to production,” he said. “The clutch torque delivery MUST BE IMPROVED.”

One month before the Focus was to be shipped to dealers, Craig Renneker, then acting director of transmission and driveline engineering, e-mailed Richard Bonifas, a customer service manager at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. “The 2012 Focus vehicles equipped with the DPS6 transmission may experience a shudder/shake on start up or when slowing to a stop … ship the vehicles to the dealers with the level of shudder we currently have and continue our efforts towards a permanent resolution ASAP,” Renneker wrote in February of 2011. “That’s just my opinion and it’s not a popular one.”

Problems turned out to be even more prevalent on the Focus than they were with the Fiesta, sending customers back to the dealership in large volumes. Fed up with no solution from the factory, it wasn’t long until service centers started expressing their frustrations as well.

“I’m tired of looking like the bad guy for repairing all these DPS6 transmissions, when truthfully Ford’s the bad guy here,” read a 2013 e-mail from a Jacksonville, Florida, dealership. “Let’s be honest. Ford produces a horrible product and we trans guys get the wrath of it. My warranty clerk thinks I’m insane and it’s like pulling teeth to get paid for all the work we have to do on these things. The input shaft seals are only good for about 10K miles at best. And by replacing them as well as the clutch, the car’s only going to return again and again and again. I do 4 or 5 a week on average … I would love to know how Ford intends to fix this.”

Those are just the juiciest bits. The full report outlines many more examples of internal conflict at Ford surrounding the gearbox and we strongly urge you to read them. They include examples how the automaker tried to cope with the financial headaches associated with the DPS6, testing protocols, warranty extensions, legal actions taken, some regulatory oversight, and lots of infighting.

Ford’s official response to the story has been that it handled the matter responsibly and ultimately ensured a good product was brought to market — maintaining that DSP6-equipped cars are safe. It also released a statement to the Free Press regarding the investigation on Wednesday:

In 2011 and 2012, Ford was excited and proud to introduce an innovative, all-new transmission that delivered higher fuel efficiency and had a smaller environmental footprint. Development of the transmission presented challenges common to innovative new technology. Those challenges were raised in normal exchanges inside Ford and with Getrag, the maker of the transmission.

Based on rigorous testing during development, we were confident in the transmission and our ability to address any quality issues that might arise with the new technology. Some consumers, accustomed to traditional automatic transmissions, found the shifting pattern of the new, fuel-efficient automatic transmission unusual and raised questions with their dealers. By design, the new transmission, also an automatic, shifted more like a manual transmission. In places where manual transmissions were still more common, related consumer inquiries were much lower.

After the new transmission was on the road, other problems developed. We acted quickly and determinedly to investigate the problems, alert dealers, recommend and pay for repairs, and extend warranties. While we eventually resolved the quality issues, the solutions were more complex and took longer than we expected. We regret the inconvenience and frustration that caused some consumers.

Along the way, we identified and discussed a range of possible remedies, including switching to an entirely different transmission. We believed the decisions we made at different points to correct the problems were best for consumers. While we have addressed quality problems with the transmission, vehicles in which it was installed were and remain safe.

 

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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138 Comments on “Transmission Trouble: Report Claims Ford Knew Focus/Fiesta DSP6 Was Defective...”


  • avatar
    TMA1

    The most nauseating part of that report is how proactive Ford is in recalling defective F-Series transmissions, while letting poorer customers just twist in the wind. So much for the notion of retaining loyal customers who will upgrade throughout their lifetimes. I doubt anyone is going out to buy a second Focus/Fiesta after this.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Poorer customers twist in the wind”? Meh. More like “customers they’re not making as much money on.”

      Still, yeah, it’s deplorable. And it’s not like Ford doesn’t have a history of selling stuff they knew to be defective. At least the f*cked up transmissions aren’t making Focuses explode.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Obama’s CAFE has created an environment where the entire industry is working on compressed development cycles. Stupid people insist we remain on this road to perdition, the same ones who thought they could vote for fuel efficiency instead of buying it.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          …Obama’s CAFE has created an environment where the entire industry is working on compressed development cycles. Stupid people insist we remain on this road to perdition, the same ones who thought they could vote for fuel efficiency instead of buying it…

          Actually, it is an extension of the Bush/Cheney Energy Independence Act of 2007. Obama Administration MOSTLY (I know someone will get pedantic because the B&B has Aspergers for cripe sake) executed the standing plan.

          Just as the auto industry bailout is 100% Bush/Cheney – where once again the Obama Administration executed the Bush plan, even left the players on the field.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            You really don’t let the truth sway your posts. Shameless. I won’t waste my time documenting Obama bragging about moon-shotting the CAFE targets, or Bush giving GM and Chrysler bridge loans to give Obama a chance to decide their fates, because anyone ignorant enough to believe you will forget the truth tomorrow anyway. The world is a better informed place when you keep your thoughts to yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Calling it “Obama’s CAFE” may be a misnomer, but if his administration went along with Bush’s plans then I assume that means he agreed with them.

            The Obama admin also did all they could to “lock in” the tougher CAFE standards before Trump was sworn-in. So it isn’t like he had any misgivings about the regulations.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, you have it wrong, APaGttH…before Obama and CAFE, no auto manufacturer ever sold a defective transmission. Not once. It’s all Obama’s fault, and so is the disappointing “Game of Thrones” finale, smelly feet, bad table manners, and Meg Ryan’s bad plastic surgery. I’m pretty sure erectile dysfunction could be pinned on him as well after a gallon of Red Bull.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            @ToddAtlasF1

            Gee, and here is this report in the WSJ from December 20, 2008 – how the Bush Admin tossed Detroit $17.4 Billion with a B.

            https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122969367595121563

            Here is FoxNews – December 19, 2008:

            https://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_wires/2008Dec19/0,4675,MeltdownAutos,00.html

            …Citing imminent danger to the national economy, President Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry Friday, offering $17.4 billion in rescue loans and demanding tough concessions from the deeply troubled carmakers and their workers. Detroit’s Big Three cheered the action and vowed to rebuild their once-mighty industry, though they acknowledged the road would be anything but smooth as they fight their way back from the brink of bankruptcy.
            The autoworkers union complained the deal was too harsh on its members, while Bush’s fellow Republicans in Congress said it was simply bad business to bail out yet another big industry.

            Bush, who signed the massive $700 billion rescue for financial institutions only this fall, said he was reluctant to approve yet another government bailout of private business. But he said that allowing the massive auto industry to collapse in the middle of what is already a severe downturn “could send our suffering economy into a deeper and longer recession.”

            Speaking at the White House, he also said he didn’t want to “leave the next president to confront the demise of a major American industry in his first days of office.”…

            This has been debated endlessly by the B&B — the evidence and the historical record is indisputable – Bush (43) bailed out the auto industry. Obama Administration simply executed the Bush plan and even left the same staffers in place.

            Oh, and here is Bush on February 7, 2012, addressing the NADA speaking about how he bailed out the US auto industry and how he would do it again.

            https://www.ibtimes.com/bush-defends-auto-bailouts-amid-growing-political-debate-id-do-it-again-407114

            …Former U.S. President George W. Bush defended the emergency bailout funds his administration provided to General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC in a speech to car dealers, saying he would do it again.

            I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment, Bush said Monday in the closing speech at National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas, according to Bloomberg. I didn’t want to gamble. I didn’t want history to look back and say, ‘Bush could have done something but chose not to do it.’ And so I said, ‘No depression.’…

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The harm here is due to accelerated development timeframes resulting from Obama’s CAFE targets. You’re spamming bailout coverage to obfuscate the actual impact of stupid people voting in 2008.

            https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a7015/obama-announces-54-6-mpg-cafe-standard-by-2025/

            Obama Announces 54.5 mpg CAFE Standard by 2025

            The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standard is now official, and it’s aggressive. Today, President Obama announced that the CAFE standard would increase from a target of 35.5 mpg in 2016 to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

            At a ceremony today in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced that the new CAFE standards for vehicle fleets will be 54.5 mpg by 2025. The increase piggybacks Obama’s 2009 mandate for a CAFE average of 35.5 by 2016 and is the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history. The standard is just shy of the 56.2 mpg average that the Obama administration was considering just a month ago

            ——————————————————–

            This is why we have cars today that won’t last as long as the new cars we were buying in 2007. They pollute more with particulates from GDI because of the intellectual frailty of Obama supporters. Next year cars will be worse because half of our voters are indoctrinated instead of educated. If Obama voters had been worthy of a free society, they’d have bought a bunch of Priuses and the market would have followed them to efficient cars when manufacturers were ready. Instead, the election was carried by people who think it is a virtue to impose sacrifices they won’t make on others. Loathsome.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …This is why we have cars today that won’t last as long as the new cars we were buying in 2007…

            Huh, amazing. The average car on the American road is older than at any other time in history, pushing 12 years ON AVERAGE.

            The data doesn’t support your screed.

            You’re also the one who posted above that Obama bailed out the auto industry and Bush only did and I quote, “bridge loans.”

            As your leader loves to say.

            WRONG.

            Oh, and since once again you’re, WRONG, on CAFE standards, here is a link to the 2007 Energy Independence Act the Bush Administration put into place.

            https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BILLS-110hr6enr/pdf/BILLS-110hr6enr.pdf

            The Act mandates and I quote…

            …‘‘(2) FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS FOR AUTOMOBILES.—
            ‘‘(A) AUTOMOBILE FUEL ECONOMY AVERAGE FOR MODEL
            YEARS 2011 THROUGH 2020.—The Secretary shall prescribe
            a separate average fuel economy standard for passenger
            automobiles and a separate average fuel economy standard
            for non-passenger automobiles for each model year beginning with model year 2011 to achieve a combined fuel
            economy average for model year 2020 of at least 35 miles
            per gallon for the total fleet of passenger and non-passenger
            automobiles manufactured for sale in the United States
            for that model year.
            ‘‘(B) AUTOMOBILE FUEL ECONOMY AVERAGE FOR MODEL
            YEARS 2021 THROUGH 2030.—For model years 2021 through
            2030, the average fuel economy required to be attained
            by each fleet of passenger and non-passenger automobiles
            manufactured for sale in the United States shall be the
            maximum feasible average fuel economy standard for each
            fleet for that model year.
            ‘‘(C) PROGRESS TOWARD STANDARD REQUIRED.—In prescribing average fuel economy standards under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall prescribe annual fuel
            economy standard increases that increase the applicable
            average fuel economy standard ratably beginning with
            model year 2011 and ending with model year 2020.
            ‘‘(3) AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY.—The Secretary shall—
            ‘‘(A) prescribe by regulation separate average fuel
            economy standards for passenger and non-passenger automobiles based on 1 or more vehicle attributes related to
            fuel economy and express each standard in the form of
            a mathematical function; and
            ‘‘(B) issue regulations under this title prescribing average fuel economy standards for at least 1, but not more
            than 5, model years…

            Again. The Obama Administration was simply following the LAW put in place by the Bush Administration. The 35 MPG standard by 2020 was mandated by the Bush Administration in 2007.

            Your claim is that vehicles became less reliable starting in 2007 because of CAFE standards.

            A) Obama wasn’t President
            B) There is the law in black and white

            You have no credibility on this subject when your baseless arguments are so easily disproven and can’t even be cast off as, “fake news.”

            I mean unless the deep state rewrote the Act and changed every electron on the Internet.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Are you claiming that you can’t tell the difference between Bush’s 35 mpg in 2020 and Obama’s 35.5 mpg in 2016? Are you saying you can’t figure out that a 13 year goal to a lower standard is less disruptive than a 7 year mandate to raise fuel economy by half a mpg more than the 13 year timeline target?

            2007 isn’t the model year long-life affordable cars died. It is merely a year when good cars were better than the best cars are today. It is funny that you think the fleet being an average of 12 years old indicates that new cars are as long-lasting as the ones that actually raise the average age of our fleet. You are not a clever person or you are an incredibly dishonest one. Anyone you influence with your risible statements is a lost cause, so go on spreading your lies.

        • 0 avatar
          PandaBear

          Right, because Corolla has no problem with transmission problem under the same Obama’s CAFE.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …Right, because Corolla has no problem with transmission problem under the same Obama’s CAFE…

            Unless it was the rare 5-speed manual – which ironically was a grenade with the pin pulled and the person who pulled the pin counted to 3 before handing it to the customer.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            1. Hybrid Synergy Drive means that Toyota isn’t as desperate as everyone else in their efforts to keep up with CAFE. They make the only new cars worth buying now.

            2. Jury is still out as Toyota replaces good transmissions with belt CVTs in some vehicles as the target keeps moving.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yup the Prius more than made up for the Corolla, except it doesn’t any more, so they now have Hybrid Corollas.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Todd, when I read down this thread’s post and saw that Post #3 started with the word “Obama”… well, TTAC doesn’t have the aggressive moderation it used to have (and desperately needs). This is why I don’t come around here as much anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          @ToddAtlasF1

          I linked to the 2007 Energy Independence Act, a 310 page document, and summary text that MANDATES that CAFE adjust fuel economy standards through 2030. That Act was passed by the Bush Administration.

          Full stop.

          Your central claim is that Obama and MPG standards are the reason vehicles are unreliable. You’ve repeated that point multiple times in this thread.

          Full stop.

          This TTAC article is about Ford Powershift 6-speed DCT Transmissions.

          Full stop.

          The Ford DCT Powershift 6-speed DCT transmission was first used in 2008 – when Bush was President – in the Ford Focus.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_PowerShift_transmission

          You have presented nothing but falsehoods and mental gymnastics in trying to somehow connect this to the Obama boogeyman.

          Fact and proven: Bush (43) bailed out the auto industry

          Fact and proven: Obama Admin simply executed the Bush (43) plan for full bailout, even left the same architects in place to execute the plan

          Fact and proven: Bush (43) is officially on the record taking credit for the bailout because he didn’t want to leave a huge mess for Obama to clean up (paraphrasing)

          Fact and proven: The Energy Independence Act of 2007, passed by Bush (43) mandated 35.5 MPG fleet fuel economy by 2020 and mandated that fuel economy standards be raised, with a window of no more than 5 years forward, through 2030 – the link to the full copy of the law attached

          Fact and proven: Despite your mental gymnastics, the Ford Powershift DCT transmission was developed prior to 2008, prior to Obama going into the White House, and was not designed to meet Obama era fuel economy standards – when we go back to the full context of the TTAC article – you are completely off base

          You can have the last word, it appears to be very important to you.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            In 2007, Bush set a target of 35.5 mpg in 2020, allowing 13 years for compliance.

            In 2009, Obama changed the deadline to 2016, only seven years later.

            The power-shift flop was caused by a compressed development schedule. Starting 2009, the auto industry’s sky was falling, and efforts to improve EPA numbers were accelerated. Because of the schedule and targets set by Obama, every manufacturer is pumping up EPA scores as fast as possible, far faster than anything can be properly proven before coming to market.

            Bush is a garbage coated piece of garbage with garbage filling. He reinvigorated the fascism known as CAFE. Obama turned it into a disaster by compressing the schedule and setting the targets as if he’d vote for AOC. It’s funny to think that we received our first sincere president in decades because the liberal media wasted their powder on Bush, who was a complicit global fascist just like they are. If they hadn’t broken out their double standards, their slander, their outright lies, and their hatred for working Americans to attack Bush, people might have fallen for their act when it came to Trump. #grateful

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      There won’t *be* another Focus or Fiesta in the US. The Focus ended production here last year, while the Fiesta’s wrapping it up this year.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I shoulda said they won’t be buying the finest Echosport that rupees can buy on their way up the Ford ladder.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “…I doubt anyone is going out to buy a second Focus/Fiesta after this…”

          I would. And for the most part those that got the ST variants are very happy. Of course we row are own via a transmission that manages to have a better shifter than my last Miata.

          Manual is always the answer to this nonsense. My rental is a VW with a dual clutch. I was excited to drive the sort of gold standard of automatics according to these forums. It’s meh and kind of jerky. Get the stick.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            “My rental is a VW with a dual clutch. I was excited to drive the sort of gold standard of automatics according to these forums. It’s meh and kind of jerky.”

            YES I have never understood the dual-clutch auto love among enthusiasts. It is more expensive to service, generally requires more frequent servicing than a true manual or conventional automatic and as we have seen with Ford can be more finicky to tune and test to meet customer expectations.

            I was actually saddened that Hyundai was going to start offering the Veloster N with a 7 speed DCT. If you want a performance car, learn to drive a real transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            What on earth happened to that Miata? The Ford manuals I’ve driven, including the Focus ST and Mustang GT, have been trash. I would rather shift a 30-year old Miata with 300K miles on its original clutch.

          • 0 avatar
            bullnuke

            One of my daughters was considering purchasing another Fiesta to replace her ’14 Fiesta before demise of the model. She’s had excellent service from hers. Of course the ’14 is a 5MT and she was looking at a ’19 5MT to replace it…

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            DCT is basically just so anyone can set hero times like magazines do. They have never made sense for an economy car.

            Apart from people who parse the difference between a 3.2 and 3.3 0-60 time or the last 1/2 second of a Ring time, a torque convertor auto or a stick is going to be superior for most people.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Get the stick.”
            “If you want a performance car, learn to drive a real transmission.”

            Never!
            Although I don’t want a DCT either.
            Conventional auto or death.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @ajla – you bought a grand tourer… ;-) And by all the reviews I’ve seen Hyundai/Kia did a darn fine job of calibrating that 8 speed whether it’s being used in the Stinger or a G80.

            I guess what I meant is if the GTI wasn’t available with anything but a stick and I heard someone beanoaning that they couldn’t have a GTI because they couldn’t drive stick… I’d tell them to learn to drive stick.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …I doubt anyone is going out to buy a second Focus/Fiesta after this…

      Going to be hard to buy a new Fiesta or Focus going forward anyway. They want to sell them an Escape – with self-destructing 4-cylinder turbo engines.

    • 0 avatar

      “while letting poorer customers just twist in the wind”

      They deserve it because they voted for Mr.T.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I’ve read alot of horsecrap on here, but you sir have taken it to a gold level. It’s interesting because the srltrongest pro Trump dude I know rolls a Tesla model S and the biggest liberal I personally know drives a last gen Focus SVT.

        Would love to hear your other (likely racist/sexist/whatever) stereotypes.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It’s hard taking people as individuals, Art. Easier to lump them into groups.

          (And +1 on the Tesla observation. I used to live in one of the most staunchly conservative areas of Denver, and Teslas are thick on the ground there. The “only greenies drive Teslas” line is pure BS. People drive them because they’re cool.)

    • 0 avatar
      DJ None

      my sister has a 2014 Focus and she is having all of those issues, she is trying to get her money back and has told me she will never buy another FORD vehicle again.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s a bit funny that you show a Fiesta ST, when the ST models were never available with the dual-clutch, or any other type of automatic transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Good — and hilarious — spot. It’s been a long, grueling, oh-so busy day and I nabbed the first Focus/Fiesta-labeled image in the media folder without giving it a second thought. We’ll dump in the standard Ford Motor Co news image instead. Feel free to razz me though.

  • avatar
    Dan

    “… and had a smaller environmental footprint.”

    The “just relax and enjoy it” of the 21st century.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I bought a 2011 new with the manual transmission. The entire car was crap from a reliability standpoint. The service manager knew me by name when he saw me. During an unscheduled repair I was asked if I had a puddle of oil in my garage. I didn’t. A seal on the manual transmission had failed, and when I got the car back the bill said: “transmission overhaul”!

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Part of the problem is the quality of Ford engineers. 20 years ago, when I graduated from UM with multiple engineering degrees, I worked at Ford. I watch promotions go to people based on gender and skin color … my new boss did not have an engineering degree, but fit the diversity profile. They explained this to me as the “school of hard knocks” is better than a degree. Then, this boss had an attitude. Young engineers with top degrees left. The raises seemed to be diversity related. I even saw “diversity ” engineers hired at the same time as me get substantially more money with less education and poor grades. That is what I saw. Thank god I left for the coasts. I still stay in touch with a few engineers who came in when I did … their careers never went anywhere … they complain hard work does not pay so they are doing the minimum and waiting for the pension. They plan on making it another 10 years doing the minimum because they say there is no upside for a white guy. Sad.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Weird, there’s another Jimmyy who posts here who turned down a job at Ford 20 years ago. he seems to be something of a racist troll too:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2018/02/nairs-sudden-exit-lincolns-galhotra-climbs-corporate-ladder/

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Affirmative action policies are racist and harmful in the long run. Even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas holds this view.

        My son ran into this when he learned he was low on a college entrance waiting list because he comes from a white zip code, despite his good grades and high test scores. He dropped his inquiry and is attending elsewhere.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Even Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas holds this view.”

          Sure didn’t stop the guy from using it to get into Yale. Not that I blame him, mind you, and no doubt he’d have gotten in on his own merits, but taking advantage of something and then making it out to be some massive societal evil isn’t a great look, you know?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “but it’s more than a little hypocritical to trash something you took advantage of, you know?”

            Not everyone is for sale. Progressives use incentives, handouts, set-asides, and redistribution to corrupt people. There’s only so much influence you can achieve in our corrupt system without playing the game. That doesn’t make it any less vile, and thank God there are people willing to use their influence to undo some of the evil the progressives have perpetrated in their efforts to remove Constitutional limits on government and protections for individual rights.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I have a friend who went from being a micro-managed, ulcerated cog to Hispanic Banker of the Year by mentioning his mother was Mexican to avoid another round of sensitivity training. He went from sitting at a pool desk in a strip mall branch to a corner office in a high-rise building downtown simply by forfeiting his white privilege. Wells Fargo’s legal problems probably have absolutely nothing to do with their promotion policies.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Russcycle, I worked there as a student for years, then turned down the offer made to me upon graduation. It was insulting. They thought it was a great offer.

        • 0 avatar
          Tele Vision

          It goes far beyond engineering and gender and skin colour. I build roads for a living. In the interests of ‘equality’ we had a diverse crew of six one year, many years ago. On paper it was perfect: three men and three women. In reality it was less so. The Lead Hand was a 600 lbs guy who couldn’t do much other than drive a truck. We had a lazy lackey, who’d befriended the fat guy in order to get out of any and all labour. We had a young girl, who didn’t know anything about construction and was afraid of machinery. We had another woman who would get her nails done every weekend, which precluded wearing work gloves – without which she wouldn’t touch anything at work. The third woman was a grandmother. White hair and all. The last crew member was myself.

          Guess who did 95% of the sh!t work?

          We needed six people on that crew who could each run a grader or packer or reclaimer, or who could change teeth and blades and do oil changes in the field and change belts and back blow rads and all the other normal construction stuff. – but ‘diversity’ quashed all of those needs.

          ‘Diversity’ is oiling a squeaky wheel while all the axles are falling off.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        How remarkable. There are two JimmyY’s. One is a racist who refused to work at Ford 20 years ago. The other is a racist who agreed to work at Ford 20 years ago.

        If I were the suspicious type, I’d think both were the same racist liar. But I know that’s simply not possible.

        Jalopnik is looking better by the minute.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          tonycd, I worked at Ford as a coop. Then, I got my first engineering degree. Then I took a Ford job. Then I dropped to part time in order to get a second engineering degree .. they flipped me to a contractor. Then I finished my second engineering degree. Then came the garbage offer … I turned that down and left. See how that works? Not a racist liar, but refusing to watch diversity ruin my career. In the eyes of HR, your sex or skin color was more important than skills and degree.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Yeah, a guy named Johann Kirchhoffer is clearly a diversity hire, and Ford has never had quality or safety cover-ups (exploding Pintos, transmissions that won’t stay in park, Firestone tires) until now.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I will tell you one more aspect of this story. When I turned down the offer, I told them I knew people who were hired out of a low rated college with a single degree and lower grades had better offers than I was getting with a second engineering with Ford experience … even though I was very good at computer simulations and they were not. HR was most alarmed on how I found out what the “diversity” engineers were making. That is what bothered them. Nothing about skills or fairness. I am sure that HR check me as a “no re-hire” after I turned down the offer and I told them why. Those same computer simulation skills made me a lot of money on wall street …

  • avatar
    TR4

    First
    On
    Recall
    Day

  • avatar
    Asdf

    I’m looking forward to the report that admits that Tesla knew that all its BEVs were defective.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    These actions by Ford are reprehensible – and the failure of these transmission is just a small part of how Ford could pass off the Fiesta and Focus as something they’d sell when they were cramped products to begin with and have zero rear seat room.

    But let us not forget that Honduh intentionally decontented and intentionally built a prior generation Civic to a lower standard and had no problem selling those vehicles until they were caught and had to rush to fix their intentional degradation of the product. Furthermore, Honduh was caught with intentionally building odometers that read more miles traveled than actual which pushed cars out of warranty.

    The point here is that even the Angels from Honduh are just as vile as a domestic brand. Ford’s cramped small cars and then their decision to can affordable vehicles was a reason for this lifetime Ford owner to switch to Hyundai this past January – a decision that I am still loving having a car that gets 46 mpgs on the highway and that is roomy and a joy to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      In Southern California, an amazing number of Hondas and Toyotas from the 90s are still on the roads. The only other 90s vehicles that are still on the roads in significant numbers are Big 3 and Toyota pickups, as well as Big 3 and Toyota “body on frame” SUVs. Everything else is gone. But, run of the mill Hondas and Toyotas are everywhere …

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      To your point about Honda, let us not forget that Honda V6 + Honda 5-speed automatic = transmission explosion.

      Yes, a decade ago, but there isn’t an automaker without some holy crap on them.

      Let’s also remember there is strong evidence that Honda knew Takata airbags were killing people and were complacent with Takata on test results – including Honda engineers cooking results seeking executive approval.

      Or VW and Dieselgate.

      Or Toyota not knowing how to make all-weather floor mats.

      Or GM going nothing to see here on ignition switches.

      Or Nissan and their CVT transmissions and how reliable they are (it was the one and only thing that kept a Maxima out of my driveway)

      Or BMW and how if you plan to own one out of warranty you better know how to wrench yourself or be prepared to spend A LOT of money on, ehem, maintenance.

      Or Toyota and rotting truck frames.

      It goes on and on and on.

      Ford is almost unique in that they continue for decades to have transmission issues on FWD vehicles and fire issues.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Those 2012 Honda Civics are all still in service with only repairs performed due to body damage. The people who recommended Focuses over them are less than useless.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      Those 2012 Civics were reliable though. I know people who have them and they are durable. I also have seen a few coming in for sale with over 300,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Those 2012 Civics were exactly what most compact car buyers want and need. They had anvil-like reliability and durability. They used fuel parsimoniously. They had no expensive to service timing belts or direct injection systems. Their interiors were remarkably roomy and comfortable. Their resale value is solid to this day, because they’re such high quality products. High resale means that their owners are protected from loss in a crash, since their insurance payouts won’t be a Hyundai-sized fraction of what they paid. What was wrong with them? They had an oddly textured dashboard and styling that was more conservative than the Civics they replaced, which were so advanced that they suffered from slow market acceptance.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    It is amazing that Ford sold that POS for such a long time. Don’t customers test drive a car and compare it to other competing models before buying it ?? Consumer report and Car and Drive mentioned the horrible transmission in their initial reviews and thereafter. The only clear winner in above fiasco will be the lawyers.

  • avatar
    ajla

    There is often some talk about if the Powershift is actually defective or if it is just garbage on purpose (seems like it is both).

    Automakers that introduce new “automatic” transmissions requiring the owner to change how they drive are making poor business decisions. People buying automatics do not want to learn and adapt to the “quirks” of their transmission. They want to put it in “D” and not think about it anymore. If they wanted to futz around with gear changes then they’d buy a manual.

    You would think companies could run a cost/benefit analysis to see if just paying the CAFE fines aren’t a better alternative to warranty claims and loss of customer goodwill.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      The Focus sedan was and is still popular with Government fleets. After driving one for several years even the cheapest Kia would be a luxury car in comparison. I couldn’t imagine an equivalent Chinese made car being any worse.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      You would think companies could run a cost/benefit analysis to see if just paying the CAFE fines aren’t a better alternative to warranty claims and loss of customer goodwill.

      I am certain that if GM brass hadn’t issued the edict that none of their cars would have gas guzzler penalties in the 80s then GM would have been far better continuing 4 barrel 350 cubic in and up V8s in family sedans. Backed by rock solid 3 speed automatic transmissions. Just give me posi-trac and the HD suspension option.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s never been cheaper to just pay the CAFE fines. They’ve never been adjusted for inflation, but there’s a very good reason for that.

        So what else hasn’t been adjusted for inflation?

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          “So what else hasn’t been adjusted for inflation?”

          Wages, mostly.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Well yeah if you made $10K a year in 1974, you lived like a King, even in Los Angeles or NYC. The point is CAFE fines were not a laughing matter. But today CAFE would rather bank the cash, than improve air quality.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As I understand it, the problem isn’t DCTs in general – it’s dry-clutch DCTs. I tried out an Elantra Sport with a DCT, and it had a lot of the same issues people are talking about with Ford’s unit. The wet-clutch DCTs I’ve tried – and that includes my A3 and several GTIs I’ve test-driven – were fine.

      Anyone have more specific info on this?

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        “As I understand it, the problem isn’t DCTs in general – it’s dry-clutch DCTs. … Anyone have more specific info on this?”

        Right, dry-clutch DCTs are known to perform worse in drivability while giving slightly better fuel economy. That wasn’t something Ford could “discover” later, because they would have know it before they started designing the transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      There were reservations about the dry clutch transmission before it was released but Getrag and Ford were convinced they could overcome with software with sufficient road and bench testing.

      They got volunteers to drive manuals all over Europe to get data, but of course they were all lead-foots so when women drove them timidly the transmission couldn’t work out which gear to preselect.

      Its not just a simple fix of dropping in a conventional transmission ; the operation of the ECU is tied to the shift points of the transmission.
      eg a manual runs at a faster rpm at highway speed, so the ECU leans out the mixture. This would cause stalling on an automatic.
      And they can’t just drop in a manual because legally they have to repair “like for like”.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Different generation Focus – a buddy of mine was the used car manager at a major Puget Sound dealership. Over beers one day he told me they call the Ford Focus the Ford F****d Us when they someone wanted to trade one in. The automatic 4-speed was basically a grenade with the pin pulled by 75K miles. They were worth nothing in the auction and they didn’t want the hassle so trade-in value offers where – loooow.

    I see not a whole lot has change.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’ve never heard that about the first generation Focus. A friend of mine took her ’07 to 220K with no transmission problems before it was retired due to rust.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Memo to Ford – God fearin’, corn-fed Americans wouldn’t know a DCT if it bit them in the behind.

  • avatar

    Ford has a major pr problem here. when the Free Press exposes them, it’s gotta hurt. more to Come when Fields testifies.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      If Fields is smart he will throw Ford motor and that moron Alan Mulally right under the bus.

      Big Al needs to be tossed because he created this mess. He allowed Ford to hire the absolute worst engineers in the industry and also drive down quality to the point it was nonexistent. But hey, profits though am I right?

      Fields needs to throw Ford under the bus for making him the call guy for all of Mulally’s mistakes. Big Al retires, Fields takes over and is immediately waist deep in Mulally crap and when Fields cannot turn the company around as fast as they would like, Ford fires him and hires the furniture idiot.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    A rental 2015 Focus with the DCT remains the absolute worst car I have ever driven. 22k on it, and I thought it might grenade before I returned it in 3 days

    My wife drove it first, and asked me if the car was all right. She never notices anything, but the transmission banging was so bad that I thought it might have a broken engine mount. I even lifted the hood to check.

    This won’t end well for Ford.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I wonder if this debacle will make it into business ethics textbooks alongside the Pinto’s fiery disposition and the conscious decision to pay claims instead of spending $20 on a fuel tank protection device.

    My 2013 Focus SE 5MT was a good cat while I had it. It would have been fair to say the manual could have used an extra gear since the thing was revving at about 3k rpm at 70 MPH if I recall correctly. I’m single so the relative lack of back seat room wasn’t a big deal. My Focus ST was also a good car.

    The 2017 Focus SE I co-owned with powershit felt cheap and hateful. It was already ugly post refresh and was uglier for the transmission. The interior materials went from being decent in 2013 to being low rent in 4 model years.

  • avatar
    geo

    Ford had a chance to start fresh in 2011-12 with the new Focus, Fusion, and Fiesta. Buyers were at last forgiving their past sins, and sales were proving it.

    Ford squandered this once-in-a-lifetime display of public goodwill due to their sheer incompetence and apathy.

    Nobody’s career suffered, and those responsible for this fiasco likely moved up, or to different areas. This is what Bob Lutz calls the “pooping pooch syndrome”.

    I was rooting for them, but I hate Ford right now.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      Or, as Ford saw it, “Nobody is buying small cars or sedans now. Axe them all. Let’s go total SUV.”

      And the promotions are what is known as “The Peter Principle”
      Employees get promoted, then end up in a position where they struggle and will never get promoted from there, instead are left struggling.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Ford had a perfectly acceptable 6 spd auto they could have adapted to both cars. Maybe economy would have suffered a bit but the reliability would have more than made up for it.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      This story really sounds like a case of the sunk cost fallacy:
      “We can’t put a conventional automatic in there! We’ve spent too much money on the DPS6!”

      I wonder what it would have cost them to have adapted, tested, and govn’t certified the 6AT at the last minute. I mean, I can sort of understand (even if I don’t agree with the decision) still putting the DPS6 into the first few model years. Then making a rolling change to use the 6AT once the feathers hit the fan.

      I have to expect that the cost of doing that would have been less than the warranty work, litigation, lost sales, lost customer base…

  • avatar
    Darkdowgow

    You cannot know how bad this transmission was. Slow 5-35 mph stop and go traffic in Florida destroyed the tranny every couple months the last year of ownership (year 3) it never left the dealer for more than 2 hours I had a ford suv of one flavor or another for a full year. As warranty was expiring (36 months) ( transmission control module only in the 3 year coverage). I traded it. I will never buy a ford product again

    Fun results. Lose 1/2 gears frequently as 1 clutch pack fails. Best when I lost reverse. If I recall the clutches were replaced 6 times. In less than 35000 miles Transmission controller 8 times. Full transmission twice

    my Young kids missed my 20 year old shitbox it replaced because it never broke

    I cannot tell you how many people will never buy ford again because of the focus.

    I have purchased 5 cars (new) since that pos (me, wife, 3 kids). Because economy car buyers move up as their income doubles and triples.

    Ford will never see a penny from any member of my family

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      “economy car buyers move up as their income doubles and triples. ”

      Same with used car buyers, if my 3 year old used car is a lemon I sure as hell am not going to buy new from that manufacturer in 5 years time when I’m in a better position.

      I wish more manufacturers understood this. A lot of today’s economy and used car buyers will eventually upgrade.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Supposedly Alan Mullaly brought his Boeing management system/style to Ford. Simple red, yellow, or green cards describing the progress of a program/project. Either his managers lied, he was gone by the time product development started, or Ford went back to their old ways. I’ve been out of the supplier business for over 10 years. I’d love hear some real stories about this transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Mulally effectively made the term “quality” a four letter word. He put in place a culture where quality was despised. The farther quality sank, the more profits grew.

      “Profits now, recalls later” is not a good business model. Big al was a cancer at ford.

  • avatar
    tw6speed

    Reading this article makes my blood boil. I had a 2012 Focus SEL that the symptoms started around 80K Miles. When I took it in, they claim everything looked and felt normal. Ford extended the trains warranty to 100K miles, but mine officially blew up at 101K so I had to pay about $850 out of pocket to have it repaired.I tried to get Ford to pay for it but they wouldn’t budge. Never again would a purchase another Ford product, especially after reading this article. Ford had their hand in my pocket from day one.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Reading this article makes my blood boil. ” It should! But Ford did the same with the Pinto and the CrownVic gas tank problems.

      But it isn’t only Ford. GM and Ye Olde Chrysler both had similar and different problems as well.

      That’s why many states enacted Lemon Laws.

      Other buyers made a more calculated approach by buying a Toyota or Honda product instead. That’s why the popularity of imports got to be so high.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    For what reason did Ford want to be so special in using a DCT? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper initially (and certainly now) to just use a conventional 6-speed? It’s not like a single car sold because a customer specifically wanted a DCT.

    In the same Vein why were people still buying these cars when there was infinite amounts of literature available condemning this car?

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      They did it due to the projected increase in fuel economy, which allowed them to advertise a 40 MPG number. They didn’t care that engineers told them in 2008 that the DPS6 was a piece of crap.

      Seems that Getrag should be blamed heavily for this as well, but Ford executives had the ultimate say in whether the DPS6 continued to be offered. They didn’t want to spend the money to re-engineer the cars to put a regular 6 speed automatic in.

      So instead of paying years ago once to put a proven transmission in, they’re losing goodwill and will probably spend billions in the end due to their short-sightedness in terms of payouts to owners/lawyers and loss of future sales.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m reminded of the last two Navistar Powerstroke engines, the 6.0L and 6.4L. Unmitigated disasters, both of them. They might have seen supplier design issues, but the issues were known and they were installed in vehicles with Ford badges and sold anyway. It’s frankly amazing that Ford continues to reign in commercial trucks after they literally bankrupted many of their customers because their work vehicles were down so often.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Typical Ford rolling dumpster fire design AND manufacturing sh!t.

    It would take me several hours just to get the ball rolling on the tip of the iceberg (just the tip) of classic, consistent FoMoCo garbage-grade motors, transmissions, exhaust system hazards, manifolds, suspension components, rust issues, cooling system issues, gas tank hazards, electrical defects, third world-grade assembly, interior materials and NVH and metallurgical issues, etc., but what’s the point?

    Ford: Quaity is Job #81

    Ford: Have you driven a Ford (on a flatbed truck) lately?

    Ford: Drive Further (than out of your driveway, fingers crossed, if it starts).

    Hecho En Mexico De La Ford Motor Corporation.

    Ford literally brings up the rear, one notch above that stalwart of reliability and quality, Jaguar-Land Rover-Range Rover, consistently on Consumer Reports Reliability Index.

    • 0 avatar
      tylanner

      This is more damning than just your aww shucks bad design….we are way, way past that with the Powershift…

      None of your statement even attempts to acknowledge the real issue here.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Is anyone surprised by this? It’s Ford we’re talking about. It’s common knowledge their products are garbage.

    This is yet another example of the cancer that infected Ford motor company. And his name is Alan Mulally

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Not all of their products are garbage. If you pick the right vehicle, and you select the right drive train, you can get a good Ford. With Ford, you have to do your homework.

      If Ford would invest more in engineering, all of their products could be good.

    • 0 avatar
      DJ None

      if you get the manual transmission Fiesta’s and Focus cars you are fine since they use a different transmission.

  • avatar

    The sad part to me, after reading the article in the Press, was that most folks who bought these cars were locked in. A new car, modest tho it may be, was a big pull for them, so they could get to work. Unlike the guy who is unhappy with his new Benzillac MSport CarreraS, who is out by the end of the lease, or raises holy hell and the mfr doesn’t want to lose them (like the truck folks in the article), these folks can’t just toss the trash…they are stuck living with it. I recall reading about how the E46 M3 caused BMW problems because many folks were terminating the leases early because it rode….like a race car…..lessors came back and paid to be rid of it, but it messed up BMW financial’s estimates. Compare to these folks, stuck in the car…forever, and their complaint isn’t “my butt is being rumbled”, but “am I gonna die getting to my receptionist job”. Whatever the buck passing, the result to the end customer is “never buying Ford again” and bad mouthing it to anyone when the subject of cars passes over the table or bar. You’d not see this on the high end…Caddy may use crap GM parts bin stuff but the first owner is coddled….BMW has replaced a LOT of defective engines over the years, even some of the diesels which carboned-up…but these folks, who stretched for a 17k new car and got something unsafe which no one can or will fix…..sheesh. Yet another example of fixable errors being trivial on top but horrible on the bottom. Compare with Hyundai – Kia which had a bad engine and replaced them-those folks might buy another one. Things do go wrong in mass production and how the company responds is key. Most folks will accept a PROMPTLY FIXED problem and let it go.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @speedlaw: I have to agree about the folks stretching to get a new car; one of my kids’ friends has a Fiesta with transmission problems. The young man, while not poor, is definitely being affected by the troubles with the car.

      I’m with you about considering a Hyundai or Kia as my next car. Outside of a couple of domestic cars, there’s little that interests me. I have more confidence in H/K that they will take better care of me (as a long term owner) as demonstrated by several of my acquaintances who have had very good experiences with the cars.

      This is a huge change in attitude for me, as I grew up in a GM town. I feel that with the recent focus on profits uber alles and a dearth of cars, there are few places to go.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        speedlaw makes excellent points, but the full intention of the CAFE mandate that created cars like the Powershift Focus is to liberate $17K new car customers from their cars and their jobs. Once they’re sitting in high density planned communities waiting for their universal wage checks and food pellets, it will be easy enough not to send either. Thank God for fracking and Trump, or it would have already worked.

  • avatar

    Back in March, 2011, I went to Southern California with my mom to be her nurse while she recovered from a minor surgery there. We landed at the Orange County airport and were both thrilled to find our rental car was a brand new Ford Fiesta with leather seats and only 16 miles on the odometer. Heck there were still bits of transit plastic on the interior.

    By the time the odometer turned over 200 miles I noticed something wasn’t right with the transmission. It felt like it was slipping in second gear and by 350 miles, it was virtually undrivable. I limped it back to the airport where the rental company took it for a short spin, agreed with my assessment and gave me a Corolla instead.

    It was this experience and the never-ending string of PowerShift horror stories that lead me to never darken the door of a Ford showroom while car shopping last year.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    When the “new” Chrysler under Fiat management went to refresh the JS Sebring as the 200, it was developed with a DDCT. Training materials were sent out for service and everything. Thanks in part to DPS disaster, feet got cold and that power-train was never launched. Solid choice.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Too bad they didn’t do the same thing with the Dart and 500L. By the time FCA gave those vehicles conventional automatics the reputation damage was already done.

      You’d think Fiat would have learned their lesson after having to replace their previous Duologic/Duoselect stuff with conventional autos.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Very few Darts received that transmission, and very few 500Ls are sold here. Europe for some reason tends to tolerate this kind of stuff. The perceived quality shouldn’t be likened to the DPS6 because it doesn’t have the same specific design issues, but rather some of the same driving characteristics and other potentials.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The prevailing internet rumor is that the Dart DCT was only offered here to hit the 40MPG target, which was a bailout condition that let Fiat take full control of Chrysler.

          Seems possible, but the big error was launching the car before the 2.4L/6A version was ready. So all the early reviews were about the 1.4T and nearly everyone hated it. Might not have mattered though with CUV Mania heating up at the time.

          Either way I give FCA credit for at least correcting their DCT miscalculation in relatively short order by putting in conventional automatics. Compared to Ford who tripled-down on it and refused to make a change.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    This should be a red flag for anyone looking to buy a car…..not only will Ford not issue a legit recall for poorly designed and malfunctioning equipment but we now know they knowingly sold a malfunctioning car, ignored safety complaints from their engineers and will still ruthlessly defend these mistakes in court to the bitter end…

    The original settlement only offered payments in the $100-$2000 range for people who had multiple transmission replacements or those visited the dealer a ridiculous amount of times for the same issue…which basically means only those who tolerated and rebutted an obscene amount of stalling and false appeasement from the dealership would get any sort of satisfaction. That judgment was an extraordinary win for Ford considering the scope of the problem…Also keep in mind that the Powershift transmission was an option upgrade….

    This is such a refreshing end to an obviously insidious charade perpetrated against people who wanted to give Ford their money….and all they wanted was an honest vehicle…this is why the CFPB exists and is probably the most important protection we have against the backroom decisions that endanger lives and steal directly from the pockets of consumers…

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I wonder if this debacle will make it into business ethics textbooks alongside the Pinto’s fiery disposition and the conscious decision to pay claims instead of spending $20 on a fuel tank protection device.

    My 2013 Focus SE 5MT was a good cat while I had it. It would have been fair to say the manual could have used an extra gear since the thing was revving at about 3k rpm at 70 MPH if I recall correctly. I’m single so the relative lack of back seat room wasn’t a big deal. My Focus ST was also a good car.

    The 2017 Focus SE I co-owned with powershift felt cheap and hateful. It was already ugly post refresh and was uglier for the transmission. The interior materials went from being decent in 2013 to being low rent in 4 model years.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    With a manual transmission the Focus and Fiesta would have at least been OK. They still have plastic cloth seats made from plastic soda bottle and small windows but at a cheap enough price they would have been good basic transportation. I am not going to carry on about GM, FCA, and Ford as some others have they all have had decent products and then products that were not so good. As for outsourcing parts from China it seems that even the Japanese manufacturers are doing that on some of their parts. We could go on and on about that but after a while a while the Chinesium and Mexicana remarks get old. If someone really feels that way then you would have to take a lot of consumer products off your buying list and go to the thrift store or resale shop and look for used items made in the USA which might be hard to find even there. I don’t like what is going on with the outsourcing of jobs but complaining about it will not stop the flow, we live in a global economy and no amount of complaining will stop it. Accessing higher tariffs just hurts the consumer in the long run and thus hurts the economy.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      “I don’t like what is going on with the outsourcing of jobs”

      Right now, a new NAFTA that reduces the outflow of jobs from Michigan is being held up by the Democrats in the house. The Democrats are willing to hurt Michigan just to make sure Michigan voters don’t benefit from a new NAFTA because that is good for Trump. That is what is going on.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        What’s really going on is that USMCA hasn’t even been submitted to Congress yet.

        https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/trump-white-house-likely-to-send-usmca-trade-deal-to-congress-after-sept-1.html

        But go ahead and believe what you want.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          That is misinformation. The deal has not been submitted because the White House is running into resistance from Democrats. Pelosi is slow walking the process.
          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/politics/pelosi-trump-nafta-deal.html

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Perhaps Trump should have speed-walked this and submitted the plan months ago. I mean, the guy can threaten Iran with death by hellfire on Twitter 24/7 but he can’t get a deal past big bad old Nancy Pelosi? I guess she’s far more bad-a** than anyone gave her credit for.

            (Amazing how it’s always someone else’s fault when it comes to Trump, ain’t it?)

          • 0 avatar

            I voted for him to stop HRC but will not do so again. He couldn’t drain a bathtub, and his performance on the budget and border is a national disgrace.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Funny. I voted for him to stop Hillary and have been pleasantly surprised by him being the best president and American of my lifetime. What was he supposed to do about the border that he didn’t try? Who is going to do more to preserve the country? Have you cut off your nose to spite your face yet?

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            FreedMike, the final version has not been submitted for a vote because the Democrats are raising a bunch of trouble … just a stall tactic. If you are an American who supports blue collar workers, you should demand the Democrats work with the WH and get a vote on an important bill for the midwest. I have family living in metro Detroit who are not college educated .. they need this.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You really see anyone who’s going to turn this one around, though, Buickman?

            I’m beginning to believe the system is f*cked and that there’s no way to un-f*ck it without getting rid of the money flooding into politics.

            Unfortunately, the Republicans love the money flood; I wish I could say Democrats don’t, but the reality is that they’re maybe 40% less in love with it.

            Until the money’s out of politics, I think we could resurrect George Washington and it won’t make a darn bit of difference.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @jimmyy:

            No, the answer is for Trump to do his job, and submit the deal, and it’s Congress’ problem from there. If the deal is good, then the public will let Congress know to go for it. If not, the ball will be back in Trump’s court. That’s how Mr. Myers in eighth grade civics told me it works. Was he wrong?

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            FreedMike,

            The WH is working with the Democrats to find an adjusted version of the bill that will pass the House and not require a re-negotiation Mexico and Canada. Since there is no agreement with the Democrats, there is nothing to submit. The Democrats are throwing roadblocks to finding a passable version of the bill because they want Trump to fail even if it hurts blue collar Americans. This is a story that may hurt the Democrats in 2020.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Notice Mitch McConnell can sit on whatever legislation he wants to and the same people bemoaning Pelosi think he’s just a swell fellow.

            Bring the legislation to the floor, vote on the legislation, everybody goes on record as being for it or against it.

            Voters then can decide how they feel about these legislative accomplishments or lack thereof when they go to the polls.

            Representative Democracy (or a Republic) is supposed to function that way.

            And yes I mean that for both parties.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            If anyone still thinks that Pelosi and McConnell aren’t playing for the same team, they probably need a cup to catch their drool.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    This is a non issue to those of us that change gears in that manner God intended…by hand, via a single clutch acuated with your left foot. Why anyone would buy an auto of any make in a small car is beyond me.

    Cue the “but what about…” Crowd. Just get the manual

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Have done. Will do as long as possible when vehicles are equipped with the kit I want and a manual. That’s getting hard.

      Still kinda lusty for a 2.0 Accord Sport, even with the strange styling. Malcolm is doing just fine though.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      “Just get the manual”

      Easier said than done. When your car is totaled in a wreck, and you need to get to work the next day, there isn’t always time for the dealer to track down a stick shift. Happened to my uncle, who drove stick his entire life. When his Euro-Cougar got T-boned, he had to settle for a PowerShift.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You’re right, but manual-shift small cars are getting rare, and if you want a higher trim level, you’re completely out of luck.

      The problem isn’t automatic transmissions per se – plenty of them operate perfectly well. It’s just that this one doesn’t.

  • avatar
    auchkarl

    I opted for the manual transmission when I bought my 2009 Focus 5-door, partly due to concern about the long-term reliability of the then “new technology” DCT. My daughter is now driving this car. It has 160,000 miles on it and has been trouble free.

    A close friend bought a manual transmission equipped 2012 Focus 5-door and like me, later gave it to his daughter. This car has 90,000 miles on it and has been trouble free.

    In 2015, I bought another Focus 5-door with a manual transmission after cross-shopping it against a Cruze, Volt, Elantra, Sentra and Prius. By 2015, the DCT had so ruined the Focus brand that I was able to buy a Titanium trim version (leather, heated seats, power lumbar, climate control, 8-speaker infotainment) for just under $16K. This car has 40,000 miles on it and, except for an oil leak repaired under warranty, has been issue free.

    Compared to the other cars I’ve looked at, the design of Focus hatchback is more useful. Rear seats can fold flat, creating a cargo area large enough to carry two bicycles and weekend luggage, or move all of a college student’s possessions. (Only the Prius is competitive here.) The Focus is the second quietest of the cars I looked at. (The Volt was quietest, but was more expensive and had less comfortable seats.)

    Given its utility and low total cost of ownership (capital outlay, gas mileage, insurance and repairs), I’d recommend a used manual transmission Focus for anyone in need of a car for a college-bound child.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @jimmyy–I didn’t say anything about the Democrats or Trump. Both political parties play partisan games–not a whole lot I can do about it except vote. Do you like outsourcing jobs? I doubt most people are for outsourcing jobs but there’s not a lot many of us can do about it except buy American and even then many of the components are outsourced.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Jeff S, if the country is willing to live with a little inflation, many jobs can be brought back. Not all, but many. I am willing to live with some inflation if it means blue collar workers get a better deal. I think most people share this opinion. Let the blue collar worker get a better deal and this country will be a better place. There are three winners if the house Democrats stop the new NAFTA. First winner is the corporations who love outsourcing because it improves their margins. Second is wall street because outsourcing runs up equity and corporate bond prices. Third it is the Democratic party who wants to undermine Trump at all costs … even if it costs blue collar workers their jobs.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have no problem in paying a little more for a product that is all American made. I doubt that the positions of many Democratic candidates of raising taxes and giving reparations, free college, and a guaranteed income will play that well in the middle of the country.

  • avatar

    Untermyer: Is not commercial credit based primarily upon money or property?
    Morgan: No, sir; the first thing is character.

    King of the Road.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I doubt there are many people who suffered as much from these as I did. I bought two Powershud-d-d-er cars new, a Focus and also a Fiesta. I dealt with all the Powershud-d-d-er tragedy that has been so well described and widely documented, 2x. Why on earth did I buy them? They were both–to me–very handsome cars that still look good today. The Focus especially had a reputation as a handler which I found to be true. I rented a Mazda 3, the gold standard, for a few days and didn’t think it had anything on the Focus. Nothing else went wrong with either car, save an A/C solenoid on Fiesta which was replaced free. Dick Dyer Ford in Columbia, SC was very good through it all. Both cars, save the transmission, would have been to me home runs. I would even buy a Ford again, after a model had been in production four years. I grew up in muscle cars and those brands are dear to me. I was sad when Pontiac and Oldsmobile went out of business. I had a GTO. But I can never buy a Ford again—as long as my wife is living. Powershud-d-d-er is a Sophoclean automotive tragedy. Has anything been worse? Cadillac V8/6/4? Edsel? So sad.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Fiat got similar complaints with the dry dual-clutch auto in the 500L. So they stopped using it. The conventional six-speed auto that replaced it might have been a tad less sporty and gotten a tad worse MPG, but no longer was normal stop-and-go driving accompanied by the smell of clutch packs burning.

    Mazda saw both the advantages and disadvantages of both types of automatics, and came up with a brilliant solution: a transmission that starts off like a conventional automatic, then operates like a dual-clutch once rolling. Smooth reliable starts, fast sporty shifts, great MPG.

    It might be too much to expect Ford to behave like Mazda, where engineering excellence matters. But is it too much to expect them to behave like Fiat, where avoidable errors should be avoided?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’d like to give the Public Service Reminder that Mazda and Ford were tied up at one point and Ford was usually smart enough to let Mazda handle the small car side of things.

      This might have been avoided if they had stayed together.


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