Ford could be facing a $4 billion legal penalty in the United States over their faulty PowerShift transmissions.
Last year, we learned that Ford Australia suffered the biggest fine in Australian history over their faulty PowerShift dual-clutch transmissions. Found in 2012-2016 Focuses and 2011-2016 Fiestas, court documents revealed that the transmission was prone to “shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration.”
Which would be bad enough even if Ford admitted that the transmissions were crap, but instead, Ford said that their transmissions were fine and then blamed the driver for their poof shift work. And they kept doing it for 10 months even after it was obvious even to the Australian government that there was a real problem here.
So the Australian courts slapped them with a $10 million fine. Here in America, however, lawsuits tend to move a little more slowly.
Since 2017, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has been arguing that Ford knew that their dual-clutch transmissions were bad and still sold them to unsuspecting citizens. Then, just as in Australia, the company blamed the drivers instead of themselves for the problem.
According to the Detroit Free Press, a settlement proposed that would see Ford pay $35 million, however, that assumed only 3% of drivers were compensated. If every faulty transmission were replaced, it could cost Ford upwards of $4 billion, which is what Public Citizen is arguing for.
The issue is before the US Court of Appeals in California, and won’t be ruled on till December at the absolute earliest.
Predictably, Ford denies all allegations against it and expects the litigation to end with the lesser figure in terms of fines.
"Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles. We continue to deny the allegations in this lawsuit, but rather than continuing with the litigation, Ford entered into a settlement agreement with lawyers representing these plaintiffs,” a Ford spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press. “That settlement is fair and appropriate and we look forward to final court approval."