Ford Motor Company has proposed a $30 million settlement to compensate nearly two million Fiesta and Focus vehicle owners, which were found to contain defective transmissions that many consumers had to pay out-of-pocket to fix over the past decade.
The Ford settlement would resolve a class-action lawsuit brought against the auto manufacturer in 2012, after thousands of consumers reported issues revolving around the dual-clutch transmission designs in certain model year Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta vehicles.
The complaint alleged the PowerShift DPS6 dual-clutch transmissions used in model year 2011 to 2016 Fiestas and 2012 to 2016 Focuses were defective, causing a variety of performance issues.
Approximately 1.5 million current and 400,000 former owners of the impacted Ford Focus and Fiesta vehicles may be impacted by the settlement.
Plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit have alleged the impacted vehicles are prone to shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, and delays in downshifting, and in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.
Ford representatives acknowledged they took too long to identify the issues and that PowerShift customers did not have complaints handled correctly. The automobile maker also indicated it was overwhelmed with the volume of complaints and did not have adequate processes in place to deal with the complaint information.
The settlement agreement includes a $30 million cash reimbursement for customers and an easier pathway for owners to be compensated for related past expenses, according to various media reports. Ford announced in the settlement proposal they will be offering a simplified buyback program for the defective vehicles
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recorded at least 4,300 complaints regarding the PowerShift DPS6 dual-clutch transmissions since they were put into production in 2011.
Ford Motors spokesman T.R. Reid stated the company believes the settlement to be fair and reasonable and is still pending approval at the final hearing scheduled on February 28, 2020.
Many people have become critical of the proposed settlement agreement figure, claiming it to be a raw deal for customers. The original figure estimated owed to the nearly 2 million Ford customers was $4 billion.