Ford Fiesta and Focus Owners With Faulty Transmissions Are Still Waiting Months for Fixes

The Blue Oval sold hundreds of thousands of cars with faulty transmissions over a decade.

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A blue Ford Fiesta driving down a city freeway
Image: Ford

Those last-generation Ford Focus and Fiesta models are no longer found on dealer lots, but they’re still on the roads and many still carrying the automaker’s faulty dual-clutch transmissions. In the last three years, getting these vehicles fixed has not gotten easier.

In October of 2019, the Detroit Free Press broke the story of just how Ford’s faulty six-speed dual-clutch DPS6 PowerShift transmissions, found on the Ford Focus going back to 2012 and the Fiesta to 2010, made it to production despite early and obvious problems. Lawyers and engineers alerted Ford that the transmission was prone to slipping out of gear and would cost the company billions in lawsuits and repairs. Still, Ford put the transmissions into its low-cost, high-volume vehicles.

These were cars purchased by lower-income folks as their entry-level new car. Such models once helped build brand loyalty between customers and automakers, but the problems with the DPS6 transmission has done just the opposite, according to an update from the Freep:

Longtime customers who support the Dearborn automaker find themselves buying competitors’ products.

Randy Blankinship of Midwest City, Oklahoma, waited as his 2014 Focus sat in the shop four months for that critical part. He went and bought a Chevy Trailblazer while waiting.

Molly Augustin of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, paid $125 to have her 2012 Ford Focus towed to her dealership in July, then parked in a storage lot with similar vehicles awaiting a parts replacement, she said. And that’s not all.

“Battery was shot when I came to collect my vehicle; they hadn’t bothered to run it for the several months it was in their custody. I’ve since purchased and installed a new battery,” she said. “Counting down the days until my 2023 Subaru Forester is ready at the end of January.”

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Customers told Freep they just want a reasonable amount of transparency; if it’s going to take weeks or months to repair their vehicles, they want to know. The automaker hasn’t been so transparent in the past, so it doesn’t seem like a big ask. So far, however, multiple owners report their cars sitting in lots waiting for parts while constantly contacting dealerships for updates on their vehicles.

Way back in 2012, problems with the transmission were already apparent to owners. Ford was subject to a class-action lawsuit over the faulty transmissions. Owners allege the problems don’t end at the dangerous transmissions Ford knowingly sold them cars:

“...plagued by numerous problems and safety concerns … transmission slips, bucking, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, premature internal wear, sudden acceleration, delay in downshifts, delayed acceleration, difficulty stopping the vehicle, and eventually catastrophic transmission failure,”

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Ford settled that lawsuit in 2020.

The automaker says it’s doing its best to produce and install replacement parts in the hundreds of thousands of vehicles still carrying the DPS6 transmissions. The faulty transmissions however are competing for computer chips. The problem with the transmission has existed since far before the pandemic, however. Some owners are losing their patience and are increasingly turning to other automakers to get their transportation needs met.

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You can read more here at the Detroit Free Press. We also reached out to Ford and will update this post if we hear back.