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Ford’s Getting Sued Over PowerShift Transmissions Again

Owners are suing Ford over issues with the PowerShift transmission in newer Fiesta and Focus models.
2017 Ford Fiesta 3/4 view Ford

A new class-action lawsuit has been brought against Ford for problems with the company’s PowerShift transmissions, as covered by CarComplaints.

The new lawsuit concerns US market models of the 2017-2019 Ford Fiesta, and 2017-2018 Ford Focus, equipped with the PowerShift transmission. Four plaintiffs filed the lawsuit, represented by Capstone Law APC and Berger & Montague P.C.

If those names are familiar, it’s because they were involved in a previous class action concerning PowerShift transmissions in Fiesta models from 2011-2016 and Focus models from 2012-2016. Another similar class action involved 7,000 owners, and ended with Ford paying millions of dollars to buy back affected cars.

Regardless of the models affected, the symptoms of PowerShift transmission failure are the same. Owners have reported cars shuddering and bucking, jerking and hesitation during gear changes, and transmissions slipping.

Other complaints include loss of drive or the car lurching forward when pulling away from a stop. The new class action lawsuit even asserts that at worst, “the PowerShift transmissions will cause the vehicles to lurch and move forward even when drivers apply the brake pedals.”

In previous models afflicted with PowerShift transmission issues, fixes from the automaker have done little to solve the problem. The Drive previously covered owners reporting recurring failures after multiple clutch replacements and other repairs. Extended warranty terms helped, but failed to solve the problem of a transmission that’s fundamentally unfit for purpose.

Blame is often placed with the dry clutch design Ford chose for the PowerShift transmission. This type of clutch is more difficult for an automated transmission to engage smoothly and consistently, leading to the symptoms mentioned above.

Internal reports later uncovered by the Detroit Free Press indicated that the company knew the transmission had issues prior to launch and went ahead anyway. The company’s prior knowledge of the issue led to Ford receiving a $10 million fine in Australia for “unconscionable conduct.”

Given the track record of the PowerShift transmission, it’s little surprise to see newer models now the subject of complaints. If you spot a duly equipped Ford on the used market, you might want to give it a wide berth.

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