Ford has been hit with a hefty fine in Australia for its awful PowerShift transmission.
Since its introduction in 2010, Ford has been fending off lawsuit after lawsuit over their PowerShift dual-clutch transmission. The issue was, essentially, that the PowerShift manual transmission was just plain terrible.
For example, in a class action lawsuit reported by Automotive News last May, 7,000 Focus and Fiesta owners sued Ford for selling them cars with the PowerShift transmission.
"The suit claims that 2012-16 Focus and 2011-16 Fiesta sedans come with faulty dual-clutch transmissions prone to 'shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration."
That lawsuit was in America. Things were worse in Australia; the government had to get involved.
The Australian government took Ford to court not just over the PowerShift transmission, which was still bad, but also because Ford tried to deny there was anything wrong with it and blamed the customer for just being a bad driver.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, between May 1, 2015, and February 29, 2016, Ford turned away customers with legitimate complaints regarding their transmissions in Ford’s Focus, Fiesta, and EcoSport small cars.
“Despite knowing that shuddering was a symptom of the quality issues with the vehicles, Ford frequently told customers that shuddering was the result of the customer’s driving style,” said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims.
“Ford knew that the symptoms of the quality issues with the vehicles were experienced intermittently, but required customers to demonstrate them on demand in the presence of a dealer in order for repairs to be undertaken.
“In most cases, Ford refused to provide a refund or no-cost replacement vehicle to consumers, even after vehicles had undergone multiple repairs that had not resolved consumers’ complaints.”
The Australian government handed Ford a fine of $10 million, the largest they could, for Ford’s “unconscionable conduct” for allowing the problem to persist for over 10 months.
Ford Australia Graeme Whickman accepted the verdict and apologized to customers, saying: "We let our customers down and for that we are sorry."
Since 2016, Ford’s PowerShift transmission is much improved with no real complaints on 2017 or 2018 model year cars. But since Ford recently announced they’ll be ending car production altogether (except for the Mustang), it won’t even be an issue for very much longer.