Buy/Drive/Burn: Basic American Compacts From 2008

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.

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Rare Rides: The 2005 Ford Saleen Focus S121 - an Improved Hot Hatch

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.

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Ford Agrees to Pay Out Over Faulty DSP6 Transmissions

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.

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More Engineers Come Forward Over Ford's Bunk DSP6 Transmission

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.

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Not Quite a Recall: Ford Extends Transmission Warranty for DSP6

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.

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Transmission Trouble: Report Claims Ford Knew Focus/Fiesta DSP6 Was Defective

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.

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Ace of Base: Ford Sedans

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!

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Junkyard Find: 2000 Ford Focus ZX3 Kona Edition

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.

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Fulminating Over Ford

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.

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Ford Crossover Company? Report Says Ford to Swap Cars for CUVs [UPDATED]

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.

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Ace of - 2017 Ford Focus SE Hatch

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.

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Domestics Abroad: The Internationals From Ford
Welcome to the first entry in a new series, Domestics Abroad. We’ll be taking a look at the international models proffered around the world that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille but are not offered in their brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.We kick off the series with Ford, which has the largest number of other-market vehicles than any other domestic manufacturer despite its “One Ford” mantra.
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Ace of Base: 2017 Ford Focus S Sedan

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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Ace of Base: 2016 Ford Focus ST

The origins of this series focused on wheels inhabiting the dank basements of the price scale for particular models. This suggestion, then, helpfully sent in by a member of the B&B, doesn’t appear to fit that measure.

However, I and a few others consider the ST to be a model unto itself, not unlike the manner in which Volkswagen treats the almighty GTI in the Golf lineup. So, what can buyers expect in a No Frills model of the Ford Focus ST?

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More Ford Production Heads South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

In an announcement that’s been anticipated for months, Ford Motor Company said today it will build a small car plant in Mexico’s San Luis Potosi state.

Ford will spend $1.6 billion on the facility, which starts construction this summer and will employ 2,800 workers by 2020.

The automaker isn’t saying what vehicles it will produce at the plant, but it’s widely expected that the Focus will move to Mexico after production stops at its Wayne, Michigan facility in 2018. Offshoots of the platform, including a rumored hybrid, could also be produced.

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  • ChristianWimmer The 240D was frigging FAST……compared to the base 200D and 220D models which we had in Europe. The 200D had 55-horsepower and the 220D had 60-horsepower. Later the 200D got a power boost to 60-horsepower which resulted in Mercedes axing the 220D. It was a 60-horsepower 200D which I once got to drive. The car belonged to a friend and had the manual transmission. 0-100 km/h according to Mercedes was 33 seconds. Ok, it was surprisingly agile - from 0 to 80 km/h (could keep up with modern traffic), BUT 80 to 100 km/h took forever! At 80 km/h and in the proper gear you could be flooring the pedal and the needle barely moved upwards. So I guess for a city vehicle or roads limited to 80 km/h it’ll do fine - and we have many such roads in Germany.
  • Tassos staying within the same family, I'd much prefer the 300. However, a 2006 recently sold also quite unjustifiably pricey, Not when you can get an Awesome Mercedes S550, of a far more recent vintage (2013) for almost the same price!!!!https://carsandbids.com/auctions/9Q1d4Vk9/2006-chrysler-300c-srt8
  • Tassos https://carsandbids.com/auctions/r4e4R4mA/2013-mercedes-benz-s550-4maticWhy don't you try this? It's four times the car the unreliable little red wagon is, it's 1000 times more luxurious, it's far more powerful than you'll ever need, it's a FOREVER car, susprisingly economical to run, AND fit for a KING, not a JANITOR. Oh, and you save over $5000, which can buy you a really Ruling Class Bottle of wine... or several cases thereof.
  • Tassos Holding cellphones in one hand while driving and being distracted by them is the idiot's recipe for disaster.And there are millions and millions of such morons. As Mark Twain said, the average American is not very smart, and half of all Americans are even dumber than that. I believe this is true of most other nations as well.
  • Tassos I am not paying $25,000, even in worthless biden dollars, for a 7-year old, unreliable, non-luxury used small wagon. Are you kidding me?