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The Detroit Free Press, one of the largest news publications in Detroit, recently uncovered information that suggests Ford Motor Co. knowingly sold Focus and Fiesta vehicles that contain defective transmissions. Both vehicles contain DPS6 transmissions that can reportedly lead to a loss of power and unintended acceleration, even while driving on highways. The Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus went on sale after the Great Recession and was touted as a dual transmission vehicle with gas mileage at 40 miles per gallon.
The Free Press investigation used internal documentation at Ford to determine that the automaker launched and continued to sell the vehicles while knowing they posed a danger to consumers. In addition, Free Press also interviewed former Ford engineers who discussed the issue anonymously. Ford received numerous complaints about the issues with the DPS6 transmission.
After the scope of the issue became apparent to Ford, it declined to make changes to the transmission’s technology. During this time, Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received numerous complaints from angry and frightened consumers.
The Free Press investigation suggests company officials went as far as preparing talking points for Ford dealerships so they could lie to customers about the safety of the vehicles. Internal documents at Ford discuss the safety concerns and details about the DPS6 transmission. An internal memo from 2012 acknowledged that Ford rushed the vehicles to production, compromised quality protocols and took shortcuts to save money.
Due to the scope and seriousness of the defect, Ford Fiesta and Focus owners regularly sought repairs that failed to fix their vehicles. Another internal document shows that 350,000 of the vehicles received repairs three or more times.
According to a former Ford engineer interviewed for the Free Press investigation, Ford engineers knew the transmissions were bad and kept it quiet.
NHTSA received 50 complaints about the transmission issue causing injuries, and more than 4,300 complaints about the issue in general. Members of Congress even issued complaints about the vehicles on behalf of their constituents.
There are no reported deaths caused by either vehicle. More than 1.5 million Fiesta and Focus vehicles are still operating on roads. In one complaint, a man and his wife suffered serious injuries after their vehicle accelerated without warning into traffic, which led to a T-bone accident.
The Free Press claims Ford has settled hundreds of lawsuits filed by consumers who suffered damages caused by the defect. If you have been in an accident in a Focus or Fiesta vehicle, you should consult with an attorney. And, even if you have not been in an accident, you may have a claim for economic damages if you own one of the vehicles with the defective transmission.
The personal injury attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson have extensive experience with auto defect cases. You can read more about our successful verdicts and settlements against some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world on our website. We also have experience handling personal injury cases against Ford for other defects. If you or someone you know sustained an injury due to a defective vehicle, then please call us directly at 305-476-7400 or submit an online contact form.