Ford’s PowerShift transmission has had a rough go of it since being introduced in 2010, mainly for being shitty. It’s also been the subject of lawsuits and, now, a hefty 10 million Australian dollar fine handed out to Ford by the Australian government, which called the way Ford responded to consumer complaints over the transmission there “unconscionable.”
The PowerShift, which you can still get on the Focus and the Fiesta (well, for now) has been massively improved after a wealth of complaints, but those improvements didn’t come quick enough in Australia, where the government says that Ford mistreated customers who complained between May 2015 and February 2016. Among the complaints were shuddering, jerking, and excessive noise on Focuses, Fiestas, and EcoSports, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. As a result, Ford’s 10 million Australian dollars is the highest ever such penalty in the country.
Of those vehicles, 37 per cent had at least one clutch replacement, but [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims] said the company told consumers the issues were not its fault.
“Despite knowing that shuddering was a symptom of the quality issues with the vehicles, Ford frequently told customers that shuddering was the result of the customer’s driving style,” he said.
“Ford knew that the symptoms of the quality issues with the vehicles were experienced intermittently, but required customers to demonstrate them on demand in the presence of a dealer in order for repairs to be undertaken.
“In most cases, Ford refused to provide a refund or no-cost replacement vehicle to consumers, even after vehicles had undergone multiple repairs that had not resolved consumers’ complaints.”
Ford, for their part, says that they were simply “overwhelmed” by the complaints.
“We were overwhelmed with the volume of complaints and, while it was not intended, over a 10-month period our processes were inadequate and information provided was either inaccurate or incomplete,” [Ford Australia President Graeme Whickman] said.
“We let our customers down and for that we are sorry.”