Ford Motor Co. "knowingly" introduced and sold two models -- the Focus and Fiesta -- with faulty transmissions, the Free Press is reporting today.
Thousands of customers complained, and the company spend "hundreds of millions" to repair the cars (without actually repairing them), and could eventually rack up $3 billion in costs related to the DPS6 transmission.
How did they malfunction? Scarily:
The cars, many of which randomly lose power on freeways and have unexpectedly bolted into intersections, were put on sale in 2010-11 as the nation emerged from the Great Recession. At least 1.5 million remain on the road and continue to torment their owners — and Ford.
The automaker pushed past company lawyers’ early safety questions and a veteran development engineer’s warning that the cars weren’t roadworthy, internal emails and documents show. Ford then declined, after the depth of the problem was obvious, to make an expensive change in the transmission technology.
... Ford’s position has consistently been that even if the cars slip out of gear while people are driving and they must coast to the side of the road, the cars don’t pose a safety risk because power steering, brakes, passenger restraints and other functions continue to work. Its statement to the Free Press for this story reiterated that "vehicles in which DPS6 was installed were and remain safe."
No deaths have been reported related to the defect, although there have been accidents. Customers report cars lurching forward, failing to accelerate while merging onto freeways and other problems.
The story is the Free Press' Sunday centerpiece.