Ford faces angry mob over ‘unsafe’ transmission

Ford faces angry mob over ‘unsafe’ transmission

Ford is facing a public backlash in Australia and New Zealand as a specialist compensation lawyer whips up owners into a frenzy.

The ‘issue’ centres around claims made by ‘comp case’ specialists Bannister Law that the PowerShift transmission used in a number of popular Ford models makes them unsafe to drive.

Bannister Law specialises in personal injury and compensation claims, and currently taking class actions against both Volkswagen and Nurofen. Ford is potentially next.

More than 60,000 Fords in Australia may be the subject of a new class action because of thje transmission that lawyers claim is “unsafe to drive”.

Over 60,000 car in Australia alone could be ordered off the road if a class action against the company gains momentum.

Ford customers in both countries are now saying some models are unsafe to drive, backing up the law firm.

Meanwhile, Ford New Zealand is taking a “wait and see” approach over the issue.

“The situation in Australia is a potential class action that hasn’t yet been filed,” says Ford NZ communications and government affairs manager Tom Clancy.

According to reports in Fairfax-owned news website stuff.co.nz, Clancy says: “We have had some NZ-customer concerns over how their Powershift transmissions are operating. We are committed to addressing potential issues and responding quickly for all our customers.”

“We would encourage our customers to work with their local dealer on their individual circumstances and we will in turn continue to work closely with our dealers to resolve those concerns.”

Ford’s twin-clutch automatic is fitted to its Fiesta hatchback, Focus and Ecosport SUV.

According to Bannister Law, the transmission is “defective” because it “slips, bucks, jerks, and harshly engages when driven”.

The proposed action only includes Fiesta, Focus and Ecosport models made from 2011 to 2014, even though two of the three cars on sale today continue to be built with the same transmission.

Ford changed the transmission in the Focus last year to a regular automatic version when it facelifted Focus last year.

“Customers who’ve contacted us believe there is clearly a problem with this particular gearbox, some people have returned to dealerships to get their cars fixed up to 10 times for repair or replacement, while others are being asked to sign confidentiality agreements in order to get a refund,” says Bannister Law principal Charles Bannister.

“We believe these faults constitute major defects and trigger a full refund under Australian Consumer Law.”

A statement from Bannister Law notes: “Some consumers are concerned that, as a result of their experiences on the road, their vehicles are unsafe to drive”.

The law firm says it will start the class action “should Ford not agree to compensate customers appropriately”.

A statement from Ford Australia says: “Ford is committed to providing its customers with top quality vehicles. We are equally committed to addressing potential issues and responding quickly for our customers”.

The car maker said it has “addressed the majority of our customers’ questions and are pleased with our ongoing improvement in customer satisfaction levels”.

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