We continue our 1990s-then-2000s series today, following up the last post that featured compact American two-doors from 1998. By the late 2000s, the Escort, Neon, and Cavalier were all dead. In their place were the Focus, Caliber, and Cobalt, and not all of those had a two-door variant. That means we focus on four-doors today. Let’s go.
Most examples of the popular first-generation Focus lived life as appliances. Use and abused, they filtered to the used car lots during the late 2000s alongside brethren like the Mercury Cougar and Jaguar S-Type. However, a select few were spared from such an ignominious fate by performance tuner Saleen. The Californian company took some new Foci and imbued them with extra performance.
Today’s Rare Ride is among the chosen — it’s the 2005 Saleen Focus.
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 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.
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.
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!
During the middle 1990s, Volkswagen partnered with Wisconsin bicycle manufacturer Trek and sold Trek Edition Jettas, complete with a Trek mountain bike and roof rack. Ford marketers saw an opportunity to out-cool Volkswagen in the bicycle-car pairing department, and figured they’d go to the Pacific Northwest for the bike to include with their biked-up Focus.
Thus was the Kona Edition Focus born, and I managed to find one of these rarities in a self-service wrecking yard in California’s Central Valley.
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.
With fresh news showing up yesterday of Ford shifting production of the Focus to China, it seemed an opportune time to revisit the Blue Oval’s offering in the compact segment. Last time around, we *ahem* focused on the sedan version and found it lacking.
Today, we’ll take a look at the five-door hatch which, in base trim, is better equipped with more features.
It wasn’t long ago that small sedans and hatchbacks were a sure-fire ticket to penalty box crudeness and motoring misery. In 2017, things have changed at the low-end of the price scale.
This week’s Ace of Base is brought to you courtesy of an inadvertent trip down memory lane thanks to Facebook’s infernal yet addictive ‘On This Day’ feature.
A few years ago, someone tagged me in a shot depicting a 17-year old Matthew standing next to his first set of hand-me-down wheels — a rusty, late ’80s Ford Escort LX. I recall learning the original owners paid $13,000 maple-sodden Canadian dollars for it in 1989, about $23,000 in today’s money.
This got me thinking: what does one find in a base Focus nearly 30 years later? And does the Focus pass the Ace of Base test? Let’s find out.
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- SCE to AUX Another outsourced battery goes awry.
- Jkross22 Nah, If I needed a truck, I'd get a Nissan titan or for nearly the same money a 20 yr old SR5.
- Kwik_Shift No. It is hideous and jarring to look at. Why would I need this anyway?
- Jeff From the side profile this gives off Taurus wagon vibes. Nice looking wagon love the exterior color and the interior. The burled walnut interior trim is beautiful.
- Jeff I think initially there will be a lot of orders for this truck and then sales will crater. Those that want this truck mainly the Tesla fans will buy them and then anyone that wanted one will have already bought one. The Cybertruck kind of reminds me of the Delorean which was widely anticipated and once it was out and those who wanted a Delorean bought one that was the end. Both the Delorean and Cybertruck are stainless steel and both are weird looking. Maybe they could release a new Back to the Future sequence and have Doc drive a Cybertruck.