In a shocking report, it has been discovered that Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) knowingly and willingly brought two cars to market that they were aware had defective transmissions. These cars have been a menace for owners and even other drivers on the road since 2011.
The Ford Focus and the Ford Fiesta, two low-priced, compact, fuel-efficient cars, are the cars named, according to the Detroit Free Press. Both the Fiesta and the Focus have been known to randomly lose power, suddenly accelerate, sputter, and slip into neutral – all while driving at highway speeds.
The investigation by the Detroit Free Press revealed that the auto giant ignored early warnings from lawyers and engineers that the cars were not worthy of being on the road. A change in transmission technology for the vehicles would be costly to Ford, and the automaker decided that changing the transmissions was not the best route.
In a statement to the Free Press on Wednesday, regarding the faulty transmissions, a Ford representative said, “After the new transmission was on the road, other problems developed. We acted quickly and determinedly to investigate the problems. … While we eventually resolved the quality issues, the solutions were more complex and took longer than we expected. We regret the inconvenience and frustration that caused some consumers.”
Another issue for Ford was that the dual-clutch transmissions within the Focus and the Fiesta allowed for the cars to reach an astonishing 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The excessively high miles per gallon of the vehicles was perhaps the biggest selling point. Changing the transmission would cause an alteration to the miles per gallon rating and would most likely decrease the rating and the appeal of the car.
Ford has maintained a position that the faulty transmissions do not put drivers in harm’s way. When the transmission cuts out, the other functions – such as, power steering, passenger restraints, and brakes – continue to function properly, allowing for the driver to safely reach the side of the road.
The first Ford Fiesta, equipped with the DPS6 transmission, hit the market in March 2010. Not more than a year later, in March 2011, the Ford Focus, equipped with the DPS6 transmission, reached dealerships.
To convey the danger of these vehicles, a driver in Saginaw, Michigan told his story of the nearly fatal accident that occurred due to a malfunction with his 2012 Ford Focus, a vehicle that had been driven only 500 miles. “I was stopped at a parking lot exit waiting to enter a thoroughfare, engine idling, with my foot lightly on the brake. Suddenly, the car accelerated forward, into the traffic lane, as though someone had pressed the accelerator pedal to the floor. I took a 45 mph T-bone on my driver’s side door,” said the driver of the 2012 Focus.
Ultimately, Ford decided to release these unsafe vehicles for sale to the public, and both the public and Ford are now paying the price. Lawsuits by owners of both the Focus and the Fiesta claim that Ford defrauded buyers.