Headaches, Hassles For Both Ford and Customers Over Transmission Defects

Ford Motor Co. has both a big public relations headache and a lot of upset Focus and Fiesta owners. Ford just announced it will extend clutch repair warranties while paying for previous work performed on clutches just after Labor Day according to the Detroit Free Press. The average cost has been between $1,200-1,400 for a clutch replacement.

The affected 2014-2016 Focus and 2014-2015 Fiesta cars exceed 600,000 vehicles. There is a software update by Ford to correct control modules in transmissions. It says 16% of owners hadn’t performed the software fix. 

Ford Financial Fallout

Ford says the financial fallout has been global, with the threat so serious that in its federal regulatory filing last April it notified investors to their bottom line. 

Ford Focus RS
Ford Focus RS | Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

As the Free Press has been covering the story, many Focus and Fiesta owners have contacted the paper to say they are getting conflicting information with dealers telling them they will not honor warranty coverage. But others have already had the service performed and were not charged by the dealer. “Since Ford extended the warranty, we were able to get our Focus repaired at no cost,” Rick Yandric of Livonia, Michigan, told the Freep.

DPS6 Transmissions

Both the Focus and Fiesta use DPS6 dual-clutch automatic transmissions. First introduced in 2011 Fiestas and 2012 Focus, it is available in the 2019 Fiesta, which will stop production at the end of the model year. The Focus was discontinued in 2018. Symptoms include shaking, slipping out of gear, delayed acceleration, and lurching forward. 

red Ford Focus car on a road
2020 Ford Focus ST wagon | Ford

In 2014 about one-third of all Focus and Fiesta cars have either had the service or will need it. Conversely, it seems that 2011 Fiestas have been problem-free. But newer models are facing continual servicing says Jake Fisher, director of auto leasing at the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in Colchester, Connecticut.

Consumer Report Says No

“No amount of updates or software is going to make those troubles go away,” says Fisher. “We refresh our data every year. It consistently shows the problems are not going away. They’re trying to replace the transmissions and the transmissions going in are still troublesome even after replacing the entire unit.”

Fisher says, “We don’t recommend people buy these cars. My advice is to sell the car and buy another car. There are a lot of reliable cars, even used ones. There is no other competitor on the market that will give you this kind of headache. Don’t throw good money after bad.” In a statement, Ford said, “Our technical analysis, warranty data and customer feedback show that the DPS6 transmission in Focus and Fiesta vehicles from 2016 through 2019 are improved from prior model years. They perform well and have competitive levels of customer satisfaction.”

Trans Replaced Three Times

Some customers like Suzanne Kho of Austin, Texas, have replaced their transmissions three times with her Focus clocking only 41,000 miles, according to the Freep. Richard Levine of Foxboro, Massachusettes, said he couldn’t understand how Ford could repair the transmissions yet still charge, even though its under warranty. He bought a 2014 Fiesta new and it has just 26,000 miles.

If you have questions about your Focus or Fiesta you can call 833-805-3673, or go to owner.Ford.com.