• Feb 4th 2010 at 5:29PM
  • 61
Consumer Reports explains Ford Fusion Hybrid braking issue – Click above to watch the video after the break

It would seem that Toyota isn't the only automaker with braking issues on its hybrid vehicles, as Ford has reportedly issued a technical service bulletin (or "Customer Satisfaction Program" in Ford-ese) outlining a software update for its 2010 Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid sedans. The problem was experienced and reported by Consumer Reports a little while back; here's their explanation of what happened:
As one of our senior engineers slowed for a stop sign at the turnoff to our test facility in East Haddam, Connecticut, the brake pedal went unexpectedly further down than normal but the car barely slowed. He zoomed through the turn, with brake-system warning lights illuminated on the dash. The car more or less coasted to a stop, with what our engineer described as minimal brake feel.

After switching off the engine and then restarting it, everything returned to normal – no warning lights and full braking capability.
That doesn't sound very good, eh? As it turns out, Ford was aware of the potential problem. Sayeth the Blue Oval: "The software threshold to transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes can cause the system to transition to conventional brakes unnecessarily." Fortunately, Ford claims that while drivers "may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes... the vehicle has full braking capability. When this occurs, our system maintains full conventional brakes and full ABS function."

In an effort to resolve the issue in a timely manner, Ford has initiated a repair program and will notify all known owners by mail starting in early February 2010. Anyone who owns a Fusion or Milan Hybrid made on or before October 17, 2009 can see their dealer regarding Ford's "Customer Satisfaction Program 10B13." Click past the break for a video explaining the issue and the official statement from Ford regarding the solution.

[Sources: Consumer Reports, Ford]

Show full PR text

Ford is proactively announcing a customer satisfaction program to update the software of the regenerative brake system of some 2010-model Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids.

Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 4, 2010 – Today, we are announcing a customer satisfaction program to update the software of the regenerative brake system of some 2010-model Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids.

We have received reports that some drivers have experienced a different brake feel when the hybrid's unique regenerative brakes switch to conventional hydraulic braking. While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes.

To be clear, the Fusion and Milan Hybrids' brake system maintains full conventional brakes and full ABS function even as the customer sees visual indicators and hears a chime. The software threshold to transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes can cause the system to transition to conventional brakes unnecessarily.

The software upgrade will reduce unnecessary occurrences of the vehicle switching from regenerative braking to conventional hydraulic brakes.

Customers with affected vehicles will receive a notice in the mail. We are asking owners of affected vehicles to have vehicle software reprogrammed at dealers at no charge.

There have been no injuries related to this condition.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      its vry telling that this is ignored by the media.. but their war on toyota continues
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ignored? It was all over the evening news tonight and on major news websites such as USAToday and CBS News.

        There are two reasons this isn't going to the top of every news story.
        1) It's only 17,000 cars, which compared to the total number of vehicles, is nothing.
        2) Even direct from the CR site, it wasn't a full brake failure. "The pedal travel was long and the pedal felt mushy underfoot, but when the pedal was pushed firmly down, the brakes did stop the car effectively."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well atleast Ford is not saying its because of floormats then coming back a month or so later and saying its the pedal while most still feel its partly due to software.
      Also I'm curious if this sudden rash of recalls is new or you guys at Autoblog just reporting on it due to Toyotathon of Death that is happening right now?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota is nothing but criminals, I hope Obama gets involved, and Eric Holder as well.

      Ford will get this fixed, they are good and getting better in quality They are better than both Honda and Toyota in quality, but not as good as The Hyundai. Not just yet. Its true look at the rankings.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, if there's going to be a post about every TSB release...this is going to be a very very busy site
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, nearly every car has at least one. However this TSB is related to another manufacturer's (possible) recall, its more than something like "Cd player skips songs".
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol im pretty sure every automaker is scrambling going over their cars to make sure they don't get anything similar to what Toyota is having in problems lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure you're right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Arrogant Toyota and Toyota dealers have manipulated gullible American buyers for years. Dealers artificially inflate resell values by buying all resell inventory & keep control of pricing. The media reports high resell Toyota values without reporting how the values are kept high. The light gauge metal Toyota uses is unsafe junk!
      The worm has turned.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If gullible Americans have been buying Toyotas, then absolute retards have been buying American cars....and the dumbest of them have been buying SUVs...and that goes for the idiots who buy Toyota SUVs too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Like this case, US is pretty fair society.
      Japanese rigt wing media says, "Toyota bashing is a protectionism of US! '
      I don't think so.

      “トヨタたたき”の真の矛先は日本? 自動車産業復活狙う米(Toyota attack, real target is a Japan country itself? )
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah Len-A....the reputation of Detroit cars just magically deteriorated right? No real tangible evidence there.

        LesPaul....your post got it right 100%. Some really bitter people around here.....the war ended 60 years ago Len_A....give it up already.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Most people in the states liked Toyota. They gave us what the American manufacturers couldn't - a well built, reliable product for an affordable price. Meanwhile the American manufacturers were mass producing garbage (they still do). The real attacks against Toyota are coming from Ford, GM, and Chrysler, and the American media and government is fanning the flames.

        We have nothing against Japanese products. If it wasn't for you guys, we wouldn't know just how badly the US car companies are screwing us.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Since my Kanji could use some work.. lol:


        It's not totally inflammatory, but yeah.
        I see how people can see it as a 'domestic vs import' issue, but it's really not that at all.
        There is obviously room for conflict of interest, but i don't see a link.

        They seem to forget how hard everyone came on Ford last decade.

        Interesting link though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Four Rings-
        At least our terrible US built cars aren't crashing themselves into laundromats :D
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Four Rings, I'll put every Ford I've owned since 1977 up against Toyota POS from the same era. I always got my cars odometers well into the 6 figure range, ran them hard in my quarter century career in outside sales, and never had the kind of trouble people accuse Detroit cars of having. Seems I always performed scheduled maintenance as required.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That ford fusion...Ford should really change the grill,and quickly.Maybe sometjhing more European Ford-esque ?
      • 5 Years Ago
      You spelled it wrong there, Autoblog. It's not F O R D but T O Y O T A, because we all know, none of the domestics ever have a recall.

      Design defects happen to EVERY automaker. Engineering a car is a very complex affair, sometimes things don't work as they should. Such is life.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Your post is 100% wrong. Ford announced this fix AFTER Consumer Reports did the article on the failing brakes.. Ford has received numerous complaints on this issue... Get your facts straight!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, but a recall that involves critical things that could kill you, such as losing the steering, brakes, acceleration control, etc. It's a serious problem no matter who's logo is on it.

        Toyota loses a lot of points here for constantly denying these issues exist, while complaints, injuries, and deaths stack up year by year. That is not to be taken lightly.

        Just like Ford's bridgestone issue. That was not taken lightly either. It's just not excusable.
        Thankfully they have changed their attitude since, but Toyota continues to lie and act shady about all this. NOT GOOD.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can only imagine this issue getting worse as product development cycles speed up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not THAT Matt,

        Ford has received numerous complaints about this issue, and Ford took action only after CR did an article on it. You're right... it's not the car.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Something tells me you have no idea what it takes to build a windshield wiper, let alone a car!

        Auto engineering is constantly evolving! What you see today will be laughable in 20 years!
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL to all you fking stupid fanboys...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Umm stupid Toyota vs Ford fanboy bickering aside, I find it pretty problematic that both Toyota and Ford seem to have goofed up how the cars handle transitions from regenerative to regular braking in pretty much the exact same way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The difference here is Ford has learned something from it's passed mistakes that they were held accountable for and is now doing something BEFORE anyone complains.

        Toyota on the other hand, had relied on it's "legendary quality" to get a free pass on their mistakes, and waited until the government forced them to do something AFTER numerous complaints and people getting killed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wobbly_ears - don't talk.

        Also, leave it to Consumer Reports to "discover" brake problems on a domestic brand.

        I still remember reading an issue years ago where they "had reports that a Dodge minivan was getting 13 MPG" - sounds like a problem with the intelligence level of your readers, and not with the vehicle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering the Fusion & Milan Hybrids have only been out about eight months, kudos to Ford for not screwing around with it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't the hybrid system based on Toyota's system? I heard something about that.

      Either ways, this makes Ford look a hell of a lot better. Talk about an image-bolstering move.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They license each others hybrid know how....This bring to question Nissan Altima's Hybrid which uses the same system as Toyota's...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Toyota Hybrid Tech was on gen1 escapes only, and even that was just cross-licensing some IP between toyota and ford (both held IP on various aspects of hybrid drive systems)
        • 5 Years Ago
        yes... Ford has fixed this issue on production line in October, and only when CR reported on the issue, they have decided to issue TSB, not recall.

        While Toyota Prius regains its normal brakes in less than a second, Fusion Hybrid completly loses brake pedal feel and lights up the dash lights until you restart the vehicle. That is an braking failure.

        Toyota found their issue, in January and is issuing TSB next month.
        Ford is issuing TSB 3.5 months after they found it and fixed it in production.

        so how are those double standards now?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Victor; thanks for the info. I was wondering why Ford's 2.4 setup was returning better mpg than Toyota's 2.4 setup.

        Anyway, nice to see this pre-emptive move. Looks like Ford does absolutely not want a repeat of bridgestonegate/explodergate ;)

        I wonder if Nissan is using the most recent hybrid tech by Toyota. I haven't heard of the old prii having this issue. Would be funny if that was the case. I bet Nissan will sweep it under the rug for some time if so.. i'm sure there aren't a ton of Altima Hybrids on the road either so they may get away with it, if it's a serious problem..
        • 5 Years Ago
        No its not based off of Toyota's setup. Ford created their own hybrid system for the new Fusion/Milan. As I've said before, every automaker has issues from time to time. Nothing will go 100% correct 100% of the time...just not possible. These TSB's, and recalls are getting blown out of proportion by the media and government.

        Nissan has several recalls and TSB's all the time, Honda just announced a recall on FIts because of fires, GM is known for hundreds of recalls themselves. Toyota is getting the attention over all the others for the simple reason that they are usually not in the spot light for such incidents.
        • 5 Years Ago
        JMC; and the fact that they have been lying about it, hard core!
        It's the worst corporate behavior from an automaker that we've seen in some time!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford's Hybrid system has nothing to do with Toyota's system. They were developing it on their own and noticed that their system was similar to Toyota's system when switching from gas to electric. They swamped some diesel pattens for some hybrid ones and both companies were happy.
      • 5 Years Ago





      • 5 Years Ago
      See, Ford is at least got a fix AND notifying owners, rather than debating how (is that really an excuse) to notify owners.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @jjmcubed - how long could they have theoretically sat on it? Fusion/Milan hybrids have only been on the market since what? Last summer?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your right. Ford has never held anything back from its customers...
        • 5 Years Ago

        You do realize that Ford announced this fix AFTER Consumer reports did the article about the failing brakes right? Search the internet and you will know what i'm talking about.
        • 5 Years Ago
        jjmcubed, I'm no insider so I don't have extract dates. However, we can look at what we know. Both issues are known, although we heard about the Prius' problem first. Ford is issuing a TSB now while Toyota is still wondering what to do.

        Any way you look at it, publicly Ford made the move quicker. We're still, as far as I know, waiting for an official TSB or recall announcement from Toyota.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Didn't say that. Using two related hybrid braking problems as an example of how and how not to handle the problem. In this case Ford is going to be notifying all known owners of the TSB re update the software, while Toyota is apparently sitting with their thumbs up their butts with the excuse "we're trying to figure out how to contact owners". Um...gee I dunno...maybe the same way you notify them with any other recall?

        Instead they seem content to wait for the Prius' brakes to be investigated and then be told to issue a TSB or recall.

        If I were Toyota I wouldn't wait around, that'll just hurt their PR more. They should do it now (especially since they have a fix), rather than waiting around.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The likely scenario was probably that Ford added this fix to their regular maintenance activity for these cars and the next time you took your Hybrid in for service, you would have received this fix for 'change to brake pedal feel'. It wasn't a safety recall because you still had full braking power if you pressed a bit further which would be your natural reaction.

        Once CR came out with their report, and because of the Toyota situation, Ford probably then decided to recall all affected cars to get this out of the way and out of the press.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ok point taken. Now if you can tell me how long Ford did "sit" on this before they announced the TSB compared to how long Toyota is "sitting" on the problem b4 they announce their TSB you might have a point.
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