For anyone thinking of buying a Ford Fiesta or Focus car—or currently driving one—now might be a good time to reconsider. That’s because there have been ongoing transmission issues with vehicles of the former model that have been manufactured since 2011, and with the latter one since 2012. According to CBC News, a Transport Canada investigation that began in February 2016 has already received 128 complaints from Canadians regarding issues with those automobiles that have compromised passenger safety.
In addition to the government’s investigation, Toronto-based firm Charney Lawyers has launched a class action lawsuit against Ford on behalf of all those who have come forward with grievances. If successful, the lawsuit would command $825 million in compensation.
The source of the problems appears to stem from the PowerShift dual clutch transmission that is used in both cars. It operates as a manual system but provides drivers with a user experience similar to that of an automatic vehicle. Due to its defects, Charney asserts that drivers have had to confront issues such as “transmission slips, kicking, jerking, harsh engagement, sudden acceleration, delay in downshifts, delayed accelerations, the inability to accelerate, difficulty stopping the vehicle, and difficulty climbing elevated grades.”
Even though no injuries have been reported yet in connection with the vehicles, many of the complainants have allegedly come close to being involved in accidents. They are clamoring for a recall, but Ford has shown no signs of taking that kind of drastic action. Instead the company has mainly tried to contain the issue by tweaking parts of the PowerShift system and informing dealerships of the transmission’s tendencies. However, many Focus and Fiesta drivers may still be unaware of the defects associated with their cars.
Earlier this year Ford was already forced to recall over 200,000 vehicles over transmission issues relating to their speed sensor software. Depending on how this investigation and lawsuit shake out, they may once again find themselves removing select models from the roads.