Ford Motor Company quietly told its dealers to expand warranty coverage of its 2011-2017 Fiesta and Focus vehicles within 24 hours of publication of a Detroit Free Press investigation into its defective transmissions. According to an article in the Free Press, a dealer memo dated July 12 showed Ford instructed dealerships not to solicit owners for the free repair offers. Essentially, Ford told its dealers that if a customer calls or arrives at the dealership saying they have problems with the transmission, the dealers were instructed to diagnose the problem and fix as necessary.
Being Quiet About Available Repairs
Dealers said they have seen a significant increase in customer calls and visits since the article appeared in the Free Press. Ford has never issued a recall for these transmission problems despite several consumer complaints. The newspaper’s investigation found that Ford knowingly put two low-priced, fuel-efficient cars with defective transmissions on the market and continued selling the problematic Focus and Fiesta vehicles despite thousands of consumer complaints and repairs.
These cars can lose acceleration when the transmission slips into neutral at various speeds. Drivers have also complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the cars suddenly accelerating, including reports of injury accidents that the Free Press found in an analysis of more than 4,300 consumer complaints. Many of the cars reportedly shuddered and jerked and annoyed owners.
Auto safety advocates that Ford’s failure to publicize the repairs is in keeping with a long-standing auto industry practice of providing repairs for defective vehicles only when asked. Last week, three members of Congress called for immediate review on this issue by regulators.
It is appalling that Ford knowingly launched these vehicles into the market with defective transmissions. At least 1.5 million of these cars remain on the road posing a danger to their owners and others on the road. The Free Press’s extensive investigation showed that Ford pushed past company lawyers’ early safety questions and a veteran engineer’s warning that the cars weren’t “roadworthy.” Ford even declined to make an expensive change in transmission technology.
Our auto defect attorneys have, for many years, been fighting the secretive practices of automakers that harm consumers. What Ford did here is just a small example of how automakers consistently put profits and their own bottom line before everything else, including the safety of people who bought their cars.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these defective vehicles, you may be able to file an auto product liability lawsuit against the automaker, dealer and other parties. Please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.