Allegedly Ford tried to blame customers for faulty transmission issues.
Ford is facing a massive lawsuit from 1.9 million angry customers who purchased or leased Focuses or Fiestas with faulty transmissions and claim the automaker blamed drivers for problems they experienced. As a result, Ford is facing a potential $4 billion lawsuit, but the company denies that it knowingly sold cars with faulty transmissions. The $4 billion figure was calculated based on a maximum-allowed cash payment of $2,325 in compensation to every affected owner.
Specifically, Ford customers have been experiencing problems with their 2012-16 Focus and 2011-16 Fiesta sedans. According to the legal filings, the dual-clutch transmissions were prone to "shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitating while changing gears, experiencing premature internal wear, delayed downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration," reports The Detroit Free Press.
Last month Ford's lawyer, Ryan Wu, argued during a US Court of Appeals hearing that judges should lower the settlement from $4 billion down to to $35 million. However, judges argued that Wu's settlement was unfair to the millions of customers affected by their faulty cars.
"Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles," the company said in a statement to The Detroit Free Press in response to the allegations. "We continue to deny the allegations in this lawsuit, but rather than continuing with the litigation, Ford entered into a settlement agreement with lawyers representing these plaintiffs. That settlement is fair and appropriate and we look forward to final court approval."
This isn't the first time Ford has been penalized for its faulty transmissions, either. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the company engaged in "unconscionable and misleading or deceptive conduct" and made "false or misleading representations in its response to customer complaints."
It hit Ford with a $10 million fine (about $7.5 million in US dollars) last year in response to the company's handling of thousands of complaints between May 2015 and November 2016. This was one of the largest fines in Australian history handed down under consumer law. Ford even reportedly told customers the "shuddering" in the vehicle was caused by their driving style. A ruling for this new lawsuit is likely to come by December, but there could be huge repercussions if it's concluded that Ford was aware of the problems and did nothing about it.