Problems With Ford’s Automated Manual Transmission…

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Nearly 7,000 owners of Ford Fiestas and Focuses are suing Ford Motor Co. over defective automated manual “PowerShift” transmissions.

The suit claims that 2012-16 Focus and 2011-16 Fiesta sedans come with faulty dual-clutch transmissions prone to “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.”

Stern Law PLLC filed the mass action lawsuit on April 20 with the Wayne County Circuit Court on behalf of the affected owners.

“Ford must be held accountable for design and manufacturing defects of the PowerShift transmission that has compromised the safety of the vehicles and cost owners significant loss in vehicle value, reliable transportation and time,” Ken Stern, founder and principal of Stern Law PLLC, said in a statement.

Plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are not seeking one large, single payment for damages, according to a spokeswoman for Stern Law. Each client’s award would be customized based on the client’s damages, she said.

A Ford spokesperson said the company can’t comment on pending litigation but said “Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles.”

On Jan. 1, 2011, Ford issued a technical service bulletin to dealers that noted the Fiesta’s PowerShift transmission could suffer “a loss of power, hesitation, surge, or lack of throttle response while driving.”

The lawsuit says Ford has issued more than 20 technical service bulletins relating to the affected models, but has been unable to find a “consistently reliable repair.”

In 2014, the automaker extended the powertrain warranty from five years/60,000 miles to seven years/100,000 miles to help cover the problems.

This is not the first lawsuit related to the transmissions.

In 2012, the Los Angeles-based law firm Capstone Partners APC filed the first of three lawsuits in a U.S. District Court on behalf of owners who claimed their vehicles suffered repeated breakdowns.

Last month, the parties settled, according to Capstone Partners APC’s website.

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  1. Ford fixed this transmission for the 2015 model year. It may have been for 2014 too. My daughter’s 2015 Fiesta drives flawlessly with the 6 speed auto-manual, especially since she also knows how to drive a manual. All auto-manuals feel more like a manual transmission than an automatic planetary gear transmission, so the lawsuit is somewhat pointless.

  2. The Focus is not a bad car, but this particular transmission is a joke.

    An automatic-manual: Is that like being half pregnant? Anything short of a Muncie, T-10, an A833 or a Ford Toploader is an automatic transmission.

    And way too many people today would have no idea how to drive a car with one of those.

    • I second your statement. I’ll have to Google what an auto-manual is since the term makes no sense, and who would want such a hybrid anyway? More complications, problems and expense for some kind of fake driving experience? Hoo boy, there’s no overestimating the mass consumer’s foolishness these days.

      • It’s a fuel economy invention. It’s a computer controlled manual transmission essentially. The functionality of an automatic and the fuel economy of a perfectly shifted manual.

  3. A friend got rid of her 2012 Focus because of these crappy faulty transmissions. The first time it started causing problems, she said to me, drive my car a little bit, tell me what is wrong with it. Holy moly the shudder, slipping and noises from the transmission. It wasn’t even 2 years old at the time. Ford replaced the transmission twice before she threw in the towel on it.

    The 2002-2005ish Focus’ were really good simple cars (at least the base model with the base engine), I still have a 2002 going strong. The first couple years of Focus’ were not very good, but by 2002, they seemed to have ironed out the problems.

    That era Focus may be a good “old” car for those that don’t want new cars (going with the other article posted today), but don’t want really old (pre 1985) cars either. It’s as simple a car built in the 21st century is going to be, with minimal electronics (my 2002 has old fashioned crank roll down windows even). But it runs good, doesn’t need tons of maintenance, doesn’t attract unwanted attention and they are cheap to buy used. And there are lots of them still around (unlike Chevy and Dodge small cars of the era).