And now the secret is out.
About a year ago, Ford faced a huge class-action lawsuit over its 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine. But the case was quickly overshadowed by an even bigger $4 billion lawsuit for faulty dual-clutch transmissions in the 2012-16 Focus and 2011-16 Fiesta sedans. Legal filings claimed the 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,” resulting in Ford owing an estimated $2,325 compensation to each affected owner.
It didn't seem like the situation could get much worse, but according to a report by the Detroit Free Press, it just has. It's because the report alleges that Ford knew about the defective transmissions and decided to keep selling them anyway, turning this major issue into a full-blown scandal.
Internal documents and emails uncovered by DFP show Ford ignored lawyers and engineers who said the cars were not road-worthy and declined to make any expensive changes to the transmissions. Cars equipped with these transmissions have been documented to randomly lose power on the highway and accidentally buck themselves into intersections. Over 1.5 million cars with the transmission currently remain on the road.
While the company looked for a fix, Ford officials sent out "prepared talking points" for dealers to tell customers about the transmission without admitting the safety concerns of the defects. Ford issued a statement saying, "After the new transmission was on the road, other problems developed. We acted quickly and determinedly to investigate the problems. 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."
Ford also tried to explain that the cars were not dangerous because even if they slipped out of gear, drivers could coast to the side of the road because the steering and brakes would continue to function. In its statement, Ford continued to reiterate "vehicles in which DPS6 was installed were and remain safe." We will continue to provide updates to this story as the lawsuit continues.