Ford Motor Co. has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit with almost 2 million owners and former owners of Focus and Fiesta models equipped with the now infamous six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift transmission. Internally referenced as the DSP6, the unit was a known problem prior to installation. Last year’s scathing report in the Detroit Free Press showed its dark history in gory detail, indicating the automaker had painted itself into a corner and ignored warnings from both engineers and legal advisors not to use the DSP6.
Complaints of vehicles shuddering and stalling, bizarre delays between gear changes, and even full-blown failures to go into gear began streaming in — leaving Ford to pick up the pieces and attempt to downplay the failure as much as possible. Unfortunately, more engineers came forward to bash the transmission over its development and implementation. Johnny-on-the-spot for the topic, the Detroit Free Press recently reported that Ford agreed to settle — with one of the lawyers brokering the deal saying the payout could exceed $100 million.
We’ve also learned how much money Ford spent repurchasing defective vehicles through a voluntary arbitration program conducted during the legal appeal. Court documents state the company bought back 2,666 vehicles for around $47,500,000 between October 2017 and December 2019.
In July, we covered a scathing report that criticized Ford Motor Co’s usage of the DSP6 dual-clutch transmission found in the third-gen Focus and sixth-gen Fiesta. The hardware was surrounded by controversy, with company insiders highly critical of its implementation. Claims arose that the unit wasn’t performing as intended throughout its development, with corporate lawyers expressing serious doubts as to whether DTC technologies (which were relatively new at the time) were the automaker’s best choice.
Hindsight seems to have proven them right. The PowerShift DSP6 turned out to be a turd the company polished to the best of its ability and then put on sale, leading to more headaches. Officially, the manufacturer has said the vehicles were safe when introduced and have remained so. Still, Ford is well aware of the tranny’s issues; since the problems came to light, the automaker has extended warranties and encouraged service centers to repair their problematic transmissions.
While a kind gesture, some remain concerned that Ford appears to be sweeping the whole issue under the rug. Customers are angry, claiming the automaker should have never put the unit into production — a move that resulted in civil litigation. But that doesn’t appear to have ever been a real possibility. Those who tried to stop the DSP6 claim they were doomed to failure from the start.
Ford has executed an on-then-off strategy with regard to its Fiesta offering in the North American market. Currently in off mode, your local Ford dealer encourages you to look at the sporty and capable [s]first-ever third-world offering[/s] EcoSport instead.
But today we’re stepping back in time to 1978 to take a look at the genesis of Fiesta. The Fiestasis, if you will.
Ford took some heat after reports emerged that it was well aware of the issues plaguing the PowerShift transmission found in third-gen Focuses and sixth-gen Fiestas. While the automaker has issued numerous recalls on the vehicles in question, the transmission was never officially included. Instead, Ford provided impacted owners with extended warranties on the problematic DSP6 tranny and issued a software update.
Hoping to quell public outrage, the manufacturer said on Wednesday that it will stretch the warranty on certain 2014-16 model year Focus and Fiesta vehicles by two years and 40,000 miles. It also announced that software updates are incoming for customers who found the six-speed dual clutch a nonstop headache. While not quite a recall, it puts Ford on the hook for transmission repairs some customers had to pay for out of pocket.
It’s August 2019 and your author is pouring one out for little Blue Oval hatchbacks with mouths to match their trousers. Soon to depart from our shores (North American-market production has already ceased), the Focus and Fiesta represented bite-sized bits of fun that weren’t overly expensive and looked a bit derivative. Alas. At least we still have Honda, and it must be noted that Hyundai is stepping up its game in this segment.
For now, one can configure a 2019 Fiesta ST even if it is getting difficult to find them on dealer lots. Today’s post assumes the ST trim is a base car, insofar as we will be adding $0 in options to the sticker price.
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.
One of the advantages when getting rid of (or leaving) something is the propensity to use up supplies on your way out the door. Moving out tomorrow? Better drink all that beer in the fridge. Trading the car in this afternoon? Let’s drive around to burn off the remaining fuel we put in the tank last week.
It would seem the Blue Oval subscribes to this theory as well. With all of its cars headed to the glue factory, some base models have actually gained features while keeping their sticker price steady.
Case in point? The Fiesta S, now with air conditioning.
You’re getting a four-for-one today, folks. With the Glass House deep-sixing all of its sedans, we figured it’d be an apropos time to inspect the cheapest of the lot bound for death row.
Picking on them in order of size sounds like a plan: Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. Ready, Blue Oval fans? Let’s go!
Ford announced yesterday, via a filing with investors, that by 2020 there will only be two conventional cars (or gas-fueled cars, at least) in its lineup. Those models will be the venerable Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active.
I wrote our news hit on it, and in my rush to get it online, I perhaps wasn’t as in-depth with context as I could’ve been. I’d like to make up for that by digging more, both into the greater context of what’s a tectonic shift in product portfolio for a major, full-line automaker, and flesh out my thoughts on what it all means.
You like Fusions, Foci, and Fiestas? Well, you better get to shopping. Pretty soon, Ford’s car lineup will be down to just two – the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Blue Oval automaker is going all in on trucks and crossovers, as well as electrified vehicles, as it plans to remake three-fourths of its lineup by 2020. This all comes from a Q1 earnings report.
In 1991, customers had a couple of hatchback options from the Blue Oval in the United States, in either the compact or subcompact segments. At the bottom of the barrel (in all ways) was the Mazda-designed Festiva, and positioned above it was the Mazda-based Escort.
Across the pond, Europeans received a Ford which was actually a Ford — the Fiesta.
After being taken to task for selecting an Ace of Base with all the financial restraint of MC Hammer during his peak earning years, I went on a bit of a hatchback kick. Nothin’ wrong with hatchbacks, even if they are often shunned like lepers by the American buying public. I learned to drive in a hatchback, then [s]endured[/s] enjoyed a parade of five-doors during my, erm, formative years.
With that in mind, let’s see what the Blue Oval has in store for us at its most basic of five-door price points: a base Fiesta S Hatch.
… ah … um … oh dear.
It’s been nearly three months since Ford introduced the seventh-generation Fiesta B-segment hatchback. We’ve still not received any U.S.-market specifics for the 2018 Ford Fiesta.
At the time, you may recall TTAC’s Steph Willems saying, “Because this was a Ford of Europe event, we’re still waiting on U.S.-specific details.”
But December and January and half of February flew by, and Ford’s U.S. PR corps still has no information to provide regarding the new subcompact. In fact, on Valentine’s Day, the day for committing to a loved one, we asked Ford to confirm the new Fiesta for the United States.
Ford declined to do so.
Is the new Ford Fiesta DOA?
An updated version of Ford’s tiniest offering was just spotted on the road, and while the camo is strong with this one, it’s clear the subcompact Fiesta now sports higher-end clothes.
Expected to bow in mid-2017 as a 2018 model, the Fiesta (the unofficial car of TTAC) keeps its old platform, but makes big changes in design and, apparently, price.
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