Ford accused of knowingly selling Focus models with defective transmissions

Customers have been complaining for years

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - Did Ford knowingly sell defective cars to thousands of customers? That question is likely only to be answered in court.

The company denies the accusation, but attorneys are swirling around a class-action lawsuit and looking for more action down the road.

Every now and then the Domestic Three automotive companies end up with a problem that becomes much bigger than anticipated. In this case, the vehicles in question are the 2012-2013 and some 2014 Ford Focus sedans.

Mechanic Bobby Skinner, at the Madison Heights Transmission Clinic, offered a quick tutorial on Ford's infamous DPS6 underneath a 2012 Focus.

"You have the module here and then you have the transmission itself, and the clutch switch is in the housing itself, which you can't see," Skinner said.

He said sometimes the modules fail and other times the clutch plates wear inside, and when the computer senses that, it will shut down the transmission while the car runs, no matter where it is.

Retiree and church volunteer George Blaw said he was in rush hour traffic Wednesday night on northbound I-75 when it coasted to a stop.

"It wasn't very fun," Blaw said. "I stopped on I-75 and I was -- cars had to go around me and there were only two lanes because of construction."

His 7-year-old Focus, which has 70,000 miles on it, went from the transmission clinic to the dealer due to the DPS6 class-action lawsuit.

Ford is repairing the transmissions for the module problems.

Blaw said this type of issue is happening too frequently.

"I get two or three (notices) a week, and I probably get calls on 10 of them a week, whether they make it here or not," Blaw said.

Ford officials said they thought they had a perfectly good transmission for the redesigned Focus during its turnaround.

The company apologized to customers for the inconvenience.

Click here to view the Ford PowerShift Transmission settlement.

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